Rhinella horribilis (Wiegmann, 1833)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Bufonidae > Genus: Rhinella > Species: Rhinella horribilis

Bufo horribilis Wiegmann, 1833, Isis von Oken, 26: 654. Syntypes: ZMB 3479 (Misantla) 3480 (without definite locality), 3481 (Veracruz) and 3493 (Mexico) according to Peters, 1863, Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1863: 81 (and Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 54–55, who discussed the collection localities of the types). ZMB 3480 designated lectotype by Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 320. Type locality: "in der Umgegend von Vera Cruze", Mexico; rendered as "Misantla", "Vera Cruz", and "Mexico" by Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 55, and "Misantla and Veracruz, Mexico" by Smith and Taylor, 1948, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 194: 41. Restricted to "Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico" by Smith and Taylor, 1950, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 33: 351, this restriction validated by the lectotype designation. McCranie, Sunyer, and Martínez-Fonseca, 2019, Rev. Nicaraguense Biodiversidad, 52: 7, invalidly restricted the type locality to “the vicinity of Veracruz, Mexico, north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.”

Bufo marinus var. horribilis — Peters, 1873, Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1873: 618.

Bufo angustipes Taylor and Smith, 1945, Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus., 95: 553. Holotype: USNM 116513, by original designation. Type locality: "La Esperanza, Chiapas", Mexico. Synonymy with Rhinella marina by Duellman, 1961, Univ. Kansas Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist., 15: 23; with Rhinella horribilis by implication of Acevedo-Rincón, Lampo, and Cipriani, 2016, Zootaxa, 4103: 574–586.  

Bufo marinus horribilis — Lynch and Fugler, 1965, J. Ohio Herpetol. Soc., 5: 8; Cei, Erspamer, and Roseghini, 1968, Syst. Zool., 17: 239.

Rhinella horribilis — Acevedo-Rincón, Lampo, and Cipriani, 2016, Zootaxa, 4103: 584. 

English Names

Giant Toad (Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 176;Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 315; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 10; Campbell, 1998, Amph. Rept. N. Guatemala Yucatan Belize: 68; all applied to populations of what is now Rhinella horribilis).

Cane Toad (Liner, 1994, Herpetol. Circ., 23: 17; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 11; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 7; Lee, 2000, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Maya World: 85–87; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 11; Liner and Casas-Andreu, 2008, Herpetol. Circ., 38: 22; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 6; Frost, McDiarmid, Mendelson, and Green, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 21; all applied to populations of what is now Rhinella horribilis).

Mesoamerican Cane Toad (Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 19; Hedges, Powell, Henderson, Hanson, and Murphy, 2019, Caribb. Herpetol., 67: 9). 

Horribilis Toad (Freile, Coloma, Terán-Valdez, Acosta-López, Tapia, and Pazmiño-Otamendi, 2020, Anfibios de Junín: 25).


Lower Rio Grande Valley region of southern Texas (USA) and southern Sonora and southwestern Chihuahua (Mexico) south along the coastal plains through tropical lowland Mexico and Central America to the west slope of the Venezuelan Andes, western and northern Colombia,; introduced into Polk County, Florida, USA (see comment). 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, United States of America, United States of America - Texas, Venezuela

Introduced: United States of America, United States of America - Florida


Removed from the synonym of Rhinella marina by Acevedo-Rincón, Lampo, and Cipriani, 2016, Zootaxa, 4103: 574–586, where it had been placed by Nieden, 1923, Das Tierreich, 46: 138; Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 64; and Duellman, 1961, Univ. Kansas Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist., 15: 23. See comment under Rhinella marina for access to relevant literature for when this species was confused with that species. Lips and Savage, 1996, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 109: 17–26, included this species (as Bufo marinus) in a key to the tadpoles found in Costa Rica. Campbell, 1998, Amph. Rept. N. Guatemala Yucatan Belize: 68–69, provided an account, as Bufo marinus, for the Yucatan region of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. See accounts bySee accounts by Savage, 2002, Amph. Rept. Costa Rica: 199–202, and McCranie and Wilson, 2002, Amph. Honduras: 187–193, as Bufo marinus.  Köhler, Veselý, and Greenbaum, 2005 "2006", Amph. Rept. El Salvador: 31–33, provided an account (as Bufo marinus) and a color photograph. Almendáriz C. and Orcés, 2004, Rev. Politécnica, Quito, 25: 108, provided distributional data for Ecuador, in the sense of including Rhinella bella as part of Rhinella marinaHero and Stoneham, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 417–422, provided a detailed account (as Bufo marinus) for the USA, a map, and conservation status. Mulcahy, Morrill, and Mendelson, 2006, J. Biogeograph., 33: 1889–1904, showed molecular divergence across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Mexico) which they attributed to Pleistocene dispersal and McCranie, Sunyer, and Martínez-Fonseca, 2019, Rev. Nicaraguense Biodiversidad, 52: 6, suggested should be investigated as a species boundary.  McCranie, 2007, Herpetol. Rev., 38: 37, detailed the departmental distribution in Honduras (as Bufo marinus). See comments by Sunyer, Páiz, Dehling, and Köhler, 2009, Herpetol. Notes, 2: 189–202, regarding Nicaraguan populations (as Rhinella marina).  Vallinoto, Sequeira, Sodré, Bernardi, Sampaio, and Schneider, 2010, Zool. Scripta, 39: 128–140, provided molecular evidence that nominal Rhinella marina is genetically divided into an Amazonian population of Rhinella marina (which carries the name when the nominal species is partitioned) is most closely related to other members of the Rhinella marina complex, but distant from two clades, one in Central America (and presumably including populations extending north into Mexico as well), and another in western Ecuador (now Rhinella bella). The Mexico to western Colombia populations now form Rhinella horribilis. Ahumada-Carrillo, Vázquez-Huizar, Vázquez-Diaz, and García-Vázquez, 2011, Herpetol. Rev., 42: 397, provided a record, as Rhinella marina, for southern Zacatecas, Mexico, and discussed the range. Lemos-Espinal, 2007, Anf. Rept. Chihuahua Mexico: 36–37, provided an account for Chihuahua, Mexico.  Lemos-Espinal and Smith, 2007, Anf. Rept. Coahuila México: 39–40, provided an account (as Bufo marinus) for Coahuila, Mexico. Oliver-López, Woolrich-Piña, and Lemos-Espinal, 2009, Fam. Bufonidae Mex.: 101–107, provided an account for Mexico. Lemos-Espinal and Dixon, 2013, Amphibians and Reptiles of San Luis Potosí: 39–40, provided an account for San Luis Potosí, Mexico. . Valdes-Lares, Martín-Muñoz de Cote, and Muñiz-Martínez, 2013, Herpetol. Rev., 44: 647–648, provided new records for Durango, Mexico. Dodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 1: 186–191, provided an account that summarized relevant literature (as Rhinella marina).  Köhler, 2011, Amph. Cent. Am.: 102–116, compared this species to others in Central America (as Chaunus marinus), provided an identification key, range map, and photograph. .Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 150–151, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. Rorabaugh and Lemos-Espinal, 2016, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Sonora: 143–145, provided a detailed account (as Rhinella marina) of natural history, morphology, and conservation status in Sonora, Mexico. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 188, provided an account of larval morphology and biology (as Rhinella marina).Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 150–151, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call, as Bufo marinus.  Palacio Baena, Muñoz Escobar, Gallo Delgado, and Rivera-Correa, 2006, Anfibios y Reptiles del Valle de Aburrá: 54–56, provided a brief account and photograph, for the  Valle de Aburrá, northwestern Colombia.  Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 188, provided an account of larval morphology and biology, as Rhinella marina. Vega-Trejo, Zúñiga-Vega, and Langerhans, Evol. Ecol., 28: 69–88, reported on morphological variation in Jalisco, Mexico, as Rhinella marina. Lemos-Espinal, Smith, and Valdes-Lares, 2019, Amph. Rept. Durango: 56–57, provided a brief account for Durango, Mexico, as Rhinella marina. Lemos-Espinal and Dixon, 2016, Amph. Rept. Hidalgo: 338–339, provided a brief account, as Rhinella marina, and map for Hidalgo, Mexico. See Barrio-Amorós, Rojas-Runjaic, and Señaris, 2019, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 13 (1: e180): 15–17, for remarks on taxonomy, range, and literature. Bessa-Silva, Vallinoto, Sampaio, Flores-Villela, Smith, and Sequeira, 2020, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 145 (106723): 1–12, discussed the phylogenetic relationship and biogeography of this species and its sister Rhinella marina.  Ahumada-Carrillo, Grünwald, López Cuellar, and Jones, 2020, Herpetol. Rev., 51: 277–278, reported the species from the municipality of Mezquitic, northern Jalisco, Mexico. In the Rhinella marina clade, Rhinella marina group of Pereyra, Blotto, Baldo, Chaparro, Ron, Elias-Costa, Iglesias, Venegas, Thomé, Ospina-Sarria, Maciel, Rada, Kolenc, Borteiro, Rivera-Correa, Rojas-Runjaic, Moravec, De la Riva, Wheeler, Castroviejo-Fisher, Grant, Haddad, and Faivovich, 2021, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 447: 1–156. Rivera, Prates, Firneno, Rodrigues, Caldwell, and Fujita, 2022 "2021", Mol. Ecol., 31: 978–992, reported on phylogenetics and noted that that the members of the Rhinella marina–Rhinella jimi–Rhinella horribilis clade exchanged genes throughout much of their biogeographic history. Abercrombie, Ferrera, Schultz, Watkins, Eversole, Estabrooks, and Ferrera, 2022, Herpetol. Rev., 53: 74–75, provided a record from Polk County, Florida, USA, and discussed briefly the introduction of Rhinella marina and Rhinella horribilis into Florida, USA. Mittan-Moreau, Kelehear, Toledo, Bacon, Guayasamin, Snyder, and Zamudio, 2022, Mol. Ecol., 31: 6440–6456, discussed the molecular evidence for patterns of introduction worldwide. Tepos-Ramírez, Garduño-Fonseca, Peralta-Robles, García-Rubio, and Cervantes Jiménez, 2023, Check List, 19: 269–292, discussed the distribution and conservation status of the species in Queretaro, Mexico. Bassett, 2023, Reptiles & Amphibians, 30(e18486): 1–18, provided an updated county distribution map for Texas, USA. Martínez-Fonseca, Holmes, Sunyer, Westeen, Grundler, Cerda, Fernández-Mena, Loza-Molina, Monagan, Nondorf, Pandelis, and Rabosky, 2024, Check List, 20: 64, provided records from Refugio Bartola, Departamento Río San Juan, and Asososca Lake–Momotombo, Department of León, Nicaragua. Records from northwestern Peru and western Ecuador are now assigned to Rhinalla bellaLoc-Barragán, Smith, Woolrich-Piña, and Lemos-Espinal, 2024, Herpetozoa, Wien, 37: 30, reported on the distributional and conservation status in the state of Nayarit, Mexico. 

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