As the Tomato Frog's name suggests, this reddish frog inflates itself when disturbed and looks like a tomato. This display is designed to make the frog look bigger and scarier to predators.
This tomato frog is a medium-sized frog, with females about 2 inches long and males smaller. There are two dorsilateral folds on the smooth back. The back is orange to red with small black spots. The underside is uniformly yellowish, sometimes with black spots on the throat. There is a wide, dark brown line from the eye back to the forelimb. The forefeet are not webbed, and the rear leg webbing is variable. Juveniles are yellow on the back and dark on the flanks.
The Zoo is protecting amphibians in partnership with Amphibian Ark.
The tomato frog is named in English for its vibrant color. However, in Malagasy, their name is "sangongon," which comes from the tomato frog's call of repeated short low-pitched notes.
They are nocturnal, being active in the evening and at night. This is a burrowing frog, spending most of its time half-hidden in underbrush waiting for food, or protecting itself from predators. The characteristic calls of this species can be heard at evening and night and sometimes during the day from swamps and pools after a heavy rain. They can inflate themselves as a defense against predation. The whitish skin secretions can produce allergic reactions in humans.
Males mount the females for sperm transfer. Breeding is accomplished in stagnant or very slow-moving water. The tadpoles are transparent filter feeders that float horizontally in mid-water.