Bombina orientalis

Oriental Fire Bellied Toad

12/04/2021 Off By Andy Ptyushkin

The Oriental Fire Bellied Toad (Bombina orientalis) is small (4 cm, 2″). They are commonly kept as pets in land and water vivaria. Bombina orientalis is also known as the «tutti toad». It may properly be referred to as a frog, despite its common name: it is commonly called a toad because of the tubercles on its back.

Bombina orientalis inhabits Northeastern China (provinces of Anhui, Shandong, Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang), Korea, Southern Japan (Tsushima and Kiushiu islands), and the Khabarovsk and Primorye regions in Russia. Part of the range in the Liaoning Province, China, seems to be isolated from the other parts. The northernmost locality is Arsenievo Village, Nanai District, Khabarovsk Region in Russia.

Tsushima Island

Tsushima Island

Oriental Fire Bellied Toads, species of Bombina, are typically a bright green with black mottling on their dorsal regions, but their complexion may also darken to brown and even black depending on their background scenery. Like other Bombina species, Bombina orientalis has a bright yellow to red (generally bright reddish-orange) ventral region mottled with dark brown to black. The skin on its dorsal side is covered in small tubercles, and although it is typically referred to as a toad, the fire-bellied toad is not a true toad – family Bufonidae.

They are noted for the bright green and black colouration on their backs, and orange and black on their undersides. In the wild, Bombina orientalis eats various small aquatic arthropods (among other things) from which they obtain beta-carotene, which aids in the colouration in the ventral region. These bright colours serve as a warning to predators of toxicity. The toxin is secreted through the skin mostly from the hind legs, and sometimes the belly, in a milky-like substance when the frog is disturbed or frightened. When disturbed, the frog may emit this toxin, and may also lie on its back to show the colour of its belly, indicating its toxicity to any predators.

In the United States and Europe, Bombina orientalis is commonly kept as a pet. They are generally a hardy species that do well in captivity if given sufficient food and good water quality.

In captivity, oriental fire-bellied toads have lived for more than a dozen years, with 15 years being common. Some older reports document them as living up to 30 years. In captivity, providing a source of beta-carotene (such as carrots) to the prey insects (crickets) early in a frog’s adult stage allows it to develop brighter colouration.