The significance of color change in newly metamorphosed American toads (Bufo a. americanus)

TitleThe significance of color change in newly metamorphosed American toads (Bufo a. americanus)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsHeinen JThomas
JournalJournal of Herpetology
Volume28
Issue1
Pagination87-93
KeywordsVERTEBRATES
Abstract

Color change in newly metamorphosed toads was analyzed as a function of background color, temperature, and desiccation. Toads showed no tendency to change color as a function of desiccation or temperature. Toads kept on light or dark substrates could darken or lighten (measured by comparison to Munsell Soil Color Charts), respectively, an average of 2 Munsell Color Values over a 2 h period. About half of the color change occurred within the first 15 min, and the rate of color change was low after one-half hour. Actively-hunting garter snakes caught more dark-matched than light-matched toads on a light-colored background (sand), but there was no difference in capture rates between dark- and light-matched toads on a dark-colored background (top soil). Both dark- and light-matched toads preferred the dark background, and toads moved less frequently on the dark background. Dark-matched toads tended to move more frequently than did light-matched toads on the light background. The ground color of animals caught in the wild on sunny afternoons showed a positive relationship with the background color of the substrate on which they were first observed.