(class Amphibia, order Anura)
A family of toads which have disc-like tongues. The lower jaws are toothless, there are eight opisthocoelous vertebrae, the sternum is three-pronged, and the ribs are retained at metamorphosis. There are 15 species, in Europe and Asia. Alytes obstetricans (midwife toad) of western and central Europe lives in hilly terrain, hiding in crevices and under stones. It has a squat grey body with a whitish belly, is up to 5.7 cm long, has no vocal sacs, and the male winds a band of eggs round his back legs while mating and carries them until hatching occurs. Bombina bombina (fire-bellied toad) of central and eastern Europe is essentially aquatic, and grey with a red, speckled belly; the male has internal vocal sacs which inflate the throat, and nuptial pads which develop on the lower arm and first two digits.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.