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¡SOBRE México!: Student Opportunities for Biological Research in Mexico

¡SOBRE México!

Abigail's Research

Cane toads, Rhinella marina, and their ectoparasites


Cane Toads are native to Mexico.

Many people are afraid of them because they emit a toxin.

Toads use a toxin as a defensive mechanism.

The toxin will only harm you if it comes in contact with your eyes and other areas of entry to the body.

Research Questions: 

What is the ectoparasites load found on the indigenous population of cane toad?

What species of ticks are found on cane toads?

Do ticks have an adverse effect on the health of the toad?

Searched for toads at after 10PM and brought them back to the lab.

Measure Toads:

  • SVL (from head to toe)
  • Head Width 
  • Hind Leg (from bottom to feet)
  • Arm length (Armpit to the end of the hand)
  • Weight of the toad
  • # of ticks
  • Photograph to identify recaptures
Results:  Male toads tend to be smaller and have less distinct markings. 

Amblyomma dissimile, the Iquana tick was the only species identified on the toads found at the Biological Station.


The dominant species of ectoparasites that are seen on cane toads are ticks.

The adult ticks that are seen in the toads were all Amblyomma dissimile.

Initial analysis does not show any effect of the number of ticks and body mass index.


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