Why is the western toad darker on the top and lighter on the bottom?

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Bufo boreas, or the western toad has an interesting color pattern. The toads have a dorsal stripe running along their back which is white or cream. Their upper body has green or gray coloration with dark blotches and warty skin. The underside or ventral surface is light in coloration. The difference in the upper and lower surface are adaptations for survival. Toads can venture on land and therefore, must be able to blend in to avoid predation. However, when it is time to mate, as in all Amphibians, they must return to the water. If toads are near the surface of a pond, any organisms below them looking up will not easily see them due to their light colored underbelly, when the sun is above the pond as well. Therefore, they are camoflauged and thus protected above and below from predators.

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