Sci&Tech Writer Daniella Southin profiles an amphibian with a rather odd choice of facial furniture

Written by DaniellaSouthin

Native to the Sichuan, Guizhou, and Hunan provinces of China, leptobrachium boringii– also known as the moustache toad – lives in a large scope of natural habitats. These include grass lands, temperate forests and close to rivers. However, their mating style is considerably more specific. Threatened by a loss of habitat, these otherwise normal looking amphibians grow up to 16 ‘keratinized nuptial spines’ during the mating season. Sitting on the toads’ upper lips, these spines resemble a spiked moustache – not too dissimilar to the spiked hair of teenage boys in the ’90s. 

These otherwise normal looking amphibians grow up to 16 ‘keratinized nupital spines’ during the mating season

Like that ’90s hair, the moustache is a form of male on male combat to win themselves a female mate. These fights involve the male toads attempting to stab their rivals with their pointy protrusions. Males of this species are often larger than females.