The Bombinatoridae are often referred to as fire-bellied toads because of their brightly colored ventral sides, which show they are highly toxic. This family includes two genera, Barbourula and Bombina, both of which have flattened bodies.

Temporal range: Maastrichtian–Recent
Bombina variegata1.jpg
Bombina variegata
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Archaeobatrachia
Family: Bombinatoridae
Gray, 1825


Bombinatoridae map.PNG
Distribution of Bombinatoridae (in black)

Bombina species are warty, aquatic toads about 7 cm (2.8 in) in length, and most noted for their bright bellies. They often display the unken reflex when disturbed; the animal will arch its back and limbs to expose the bright belly, and may turn over on its back. This acts as a warning to predators.[1] The vocal behavior of some Bombina species are unusual in that the call is produced during inhalation rather than exhalation as in other frogs. They lay pigmented eggs in ponds.

Barbourula species occur in the Philippine Islands and Borneo, while Bombina species are found throughout Eurasia. They are slightly less colored than Bombina, and possess webbed fingers in addition to webbed toes. Characteristics of tadpoles of Barbourula are unknown.

Barbourula was considered to be situated intermediate between Discoglossus and Bombina, but closer to the latter, so was added to the Bombinatoridae when that family was split from the Discoglossidae.

Fossil Bombina specimens are known from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene; no fossils of Barbourula are known.

The earliest fossil specimens are Eobarbourula from the Eocene of India, and Hatzegobatrachus from Late Cretaceous of Hateg island, Romania


Family Bombinatoridae [2]


  1. ^ Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
  2. ^ Bombinatoridae at the American Museum of Natural History's Amphibian Species of the World website