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World’s Smallest Toad: The Amazing Bufo taitanus beiranus Frog Story

World's Smallest Toad

The Bufo taitanus beiranus (Poyntonophrynus beiranus), also referred to as Beira pygmy toad or Beira toad holds the Guinness Book title for the smallest toad species in the world. Native to southern Africa, this miniature never exceeds 24mm (0.94 inches) in length.

Due to its small size, this pigmy toad has greatly captured the attention of frog and toad enthusiasts as well as biologists all over.

Our guide below takes you through the amazing story of this unique toad species. We’ll explore everything you need to know about this miniature toad including its appearance, distribution, habitat, population, and more.

Bufo Taitanus Beiranus the World’s Smallest Toad

The Bufo taitanus beiranus scientific name is Poyntonophrynus beiranus. It belongs to the family Bufonidae This small toad also goes by other names such as Beira pygmy toad, Beira toad, and Bufo beiranus Loveridge.

This toad species is found in southern Africa; it’s native to Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Beira toads are pretty small in size—they measure around 0.94 inches in length for an adult.

Bufo Taitanus Beiranus the World's Smallest Toad

They are characterized by unique features such as a stout body and warty skin. They have a grayish or brown coloration, which enables them to easily blend with their natural habitats.

Just like most other toad species, these toads are primarily nocturnal, often living near water bodies where their breeding takes place.

While this miniature toad isn’t as popular as some other toad species, it plays a crucial role in its ecosystems and contributes to the diversity of the regions it inhabits.

Bufo taitanus beiranus Appearance

The Beira toad is the smallest toad in the world as per the Guinness Book of Records. An adult never exceeds 24mm (0.94 inch).

It has quite a unique appearance compared to other toad species. For instance, it lacks prominent parotid glands. The glands also fail to form a continuous platform with its head top.

Bufo taitanus beiranus Appearance

Unlike most toad species, this minuscule toad also lacks the dorsal hourglass pattern and a conspicuous tarsal fold.

Bufo taitanus beiranus features finely spotted ventral skin and its eye pupils aren’t vertical.

As for its feet, they’re not adapted for burrowing and lack sticky terminal discs on toes or fingers. They also lack hard claws.

Beira Toad Distribution and Habitat

As we mentioned earlier, this toad is native to Africa. To be more precise, this toad is found in two separate areas.

These include central Mozambique’s central plain in the Pungwe River flood plain north to Southern Malawi’s Thuchilla.

The other area is the Zambezi catchment areas floodplains, in southwestern and central Zambia.

Note that this toad’s type locality is Beira, Mozambique, hence its name.

For the habitat part, this toad’s natural habitats involve the tropical or subtropical seasonally flooded or wet lowland grasslands.

It is also found in intermittent freshwater marshes around or within tropical or subtropical shrubland.

Such habitats offer them suitable hiding spots, breeding sites (water presence), and a wide variety of prey.

This toad occurs at elevations of at least 1000m above sea level.

Beira Toad Habits and Lifestyle

The small beira toads are nocturnal, meaning they’re mostly active during the night.

This not only keeps them hidden from potential predators that are active during the day but also helps them escape the day heat, which may cause desiccation.

Beira Toad Habits and Lifestyle

They tend to breed in ephemeral pools that form after heavy intermittent rains. Males tend to produce high-frequency buzz calls (similar to noise made by some insects) to attract mates to the breeding site.

Beira toads are opportunistic feeders that consume a variety of small invertebrates, including arachnids, and insects. Their primary diet comprises terrestrial arthropods.

Little is known about the toad’s breeding behavior.

Bufo taitanus beiranus Population

The exact current population of the Beira toad is unknown. However, it is currently classified by the IUCN Red List as a species of Least Concern.

This means its population is plentiful and abundant in its natural habitats.

That said, it’s worth noting that this species faces several threats in its habitats, just like most other amphibians. These include habitat destruction and population.

Specifically, the toad’s major threat is the over-extraction of surface waters in its habitats and the conversion of some lands to agriculture.

Bufo taitanus beiranus Population


The Bufo taitanus beiranus is the smallest toad in the world, with adults measuring as small as 0.94 inches or 24mm in length. This toad is native to southern African countries including Mozambique, Zambia, and Malawi, and has a distinct appearance compared to most other toad species. Its preferred habitats in its range include grasslands and wetlands which offer it suitable breeding sites, hunting grounds, and cover.

Currently, the toad is listed as of least concern, meaning it’s not under threat. However, there is little information about various aspects of this toad, including reproduction and behavior, as it is still being researched.

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