Roraima bush toad (Oreophrynella quelchii)

If you haven’t seen the Roraima bush toad (Oreophrynella quelchii) on top of Roraima, you have definitely heard it. Yet you might not know it’s the sound of a toad, as it resembles a mellow drip of water. So mellow and soft that it simply blends in with the myriads of sounds from water, which is abundant on Roraima.

This thumbnail sized toad is very sensitive to sound and if its familiar soudscape is disrupted by a new reflective or absorbing surface (my body), it will soon stop – I have time and time again sloooowly approaced the sound, only to be left with silence. I didn’t have time to wait more than about 15 minutes, and that was clearly not enough. Perhaps an hour of waiting will suffice?

I find it quite extraordinary that evolution has come up with a call that resembles water dripping, in an environment that is so full of drops of water hitting various surfaces, but then again how am I to question the female’s preferences?

More extraordinary is that this toad is endemic to Roraima, which means it’s extremely vulnerable.

The underside is quite colorful, and the only hint of this when it’s on its feet is on the front of the elbow.

Last updated on 2 July 2024