What are Bumble Bee Toads?

Bumble Bee Toads are amazing little black and yellow toads with red feet and rumps. Bumble bee toads are known for their bright coloration and their ambling gait, as opposed to the traditional hopping or jumping of most frogs or toads. Traditionally imported from Paraguay in huge numbers, Bumble Bee Toads are exceptionally susceptible to a ‘boom and bust’ cycle in the pet trade, where they are commonly available when they are coming in, then suddenly rare after imports stop. Due mainly to the low price of wild caught animals and difficulties in captive breeding and rearing of young (they’re tiny!), Bumble Bee Toads have virtually disappeared from the US pet trade several times. In fact, imports just stopped again after several years of importing. This, along with a need to reduce the demand on wild populations, are the primary reasons Josh’s Frogs has dedicated considerable time and effort developing a breeding program.

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Bumble bee toads are also known as redbelly toads, due to their ventral coloration. In captivity, this reddish coloration is often lost.

Bumble Bee Toad Taxonomy
Bumble Bee Toads have several common names, including Bumble Bee Walking Toads, Paraguay Walking Toads, Yellow and Black Walking Toads, and Redbelly Toads (which appears to be the common name most used by field researchers). In fact, we’re not 100% sure of the species in the US pet trade. Traditionally labeled as Melanophryniscus stelzneri (first described by Weyenbergh in 1875), Bumble Bee Toads may very well be Melanophryniscus klappenbachi(described by Prigioni and Langone in 2000). Melanophryniscus klappenbachi is reportedly limited to Argentina, while the bumble bee toads in the American hobby originate in Paraguay. Based on information currently available, I personally feel we most likely have Melanophryniscus stelzneri in the United States. The taxonomic history of bumble bee toads in the scientific literature is as follows:

Phryniscus stelzneri (Weyenbergh 1875)
Atelopus stelzneri (Boulenger 1894)
Bufo stelzneri (Noble 1922)
Dendrophryniscus stelzneri (Noble 1926)
Melanophryniscus stelzneri stelzneri (Gallardo 1961)
Melanophryniscus klappenbachi – ? – (Prigioni and Langone 2000)

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