...the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. Geo. Washington Feb. 22, 1732


Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert Kennedy, South Africa 1966.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Toad Tales


Toad is a common name applied to certain frogs, especially of the family Bufonidae, that are characterized by dry, leathery skin, short legs, and parotoid glands.  A distinction between frogs and toads is not made in scientific taxonomy, but is common in popular culture (folk taxonomy), in which toads are associated with drier skin and more terrestrial habitats than animals commonly called frogs ...

There is no definitive collective noun for toads, and like most collective nouns, the listed proposals are fanciful; one example is a knot of toads; others include a lump, nest, or knob of toads. ...
Usually the largest of the bumps on the skin of a toad are those that cover the parotoid glands. The bumps are commonly called warts, but they have nothing to do with infectious warts, being fixed in size, present on healthy specimens and not caused by infection. Frogs travel from non-breeding areas to breeding areas of ponds and lakes. Bogert (1947) suggests that the call of the toads is the most important cue used by toads in the homing to ponds. Toads, like many amphibians, exhibit breeding site fidelity (philopatry). Individual Bufo americanus toads return to their natal ponds to breed where they are likely to encounter siblings as potential mates. Although inbred examples within a species is possible, siblings rarely mate. Toads recognize and actively avoid mating with close kin. Advertisement vocalizations given by males appear to serve as cues by which females recognize kin.[ Kin recognition thus allows avoidance of inbreeding and consequent inbreeding depression.



In Kenneth Grahame's 1908 novel The Wind in the WillowsMr. Toad is a likeable and popular, if selfish and narcissistic, comic character. Mr. Toad reappears as the lead character in A. A. Milne's 1929 play Toad of Toad Hall, based on the book. 

In Chinese culture, the Money Toad (or Frog) Jin Chan appears as a Feng Shui charm for prosperity.





Asian toad invasion of Madagascar: Toamasina January 2016 from Last Planet on Vimeo.

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