Named for their brightly colored belly, Fire-bellied Toads have an impressive defensive display. When approached by a predator, the Fire-bellied Toad arches backward to display bright orange and black spots on its underside. At the same time, it starts secreting toxins onto its skin like bombesin and 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) that cause irritation, changes in heart rate, and gastrointestinal problems. These toxins help teach predators to stay away from the bright warning colors.
The word for this defensive display is unkenreflex.
Fire-bellied toads are otherwise well camouflaged. Their patterns blend in with their environment of water and algae (pattern camouflage). Their bumpy shape helps disguise their outline (shape camouflage). Also, they tend to stay very still during the day, further enhancing their camouflage (behavioral camouflage).
The adults are ambush predators that eat small bugs and worms.
Fire-bellied Toads can live up to 20 years.
Like many other frogs, baby Fire-bellied Toads have fins and gills instead of legs and lungs. They transform into their adult shape during metamorphosis. First, they grow lungs, then back legs, and finally, front legs. Then they reabsorb their tail and gills and become tiny adult frogs!