|Lifespan||At least about 3 years|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Created by||Dougal Dixon|
|Designed by||Dougal Dixon|
The Oakleaf Toad (Grima frondiforme) is a small, predatory amphibian which inhabits the litter-covered forest floors of Earth's temperate zones circa 50 million years in the future. Unlike modern-day toads, this species has shifted from insectivorous to mostly carnivorous habits, developing a long earthworm-like tongue which is used to lure victims such as small rodents to it, which are then rapidly devoured. Ironically, as it preys on rodents, the toad's main predators consist of their prey's relatives, the fox-sized predatory rats of the future.
Under usual circumstances, the Oakleaf Toad is a very well-camouflaged species, and spends most of its time partially buried among the fallen leaves. It has a fleshy brown outgrowth on its back which greatly resembles a leaf, and helps it go unnoticed by prey and predators alike. However, this toad is also known to act as the host to the juvenile stage of a certain parasitic fluke. Unfortunately for it, the adult stage of the fluke needs to develop inside a predatory rat. Therefore, as soon as the fluke develops itself into adulthood (a process which takes about three years living inside the toad's body), it produces a substance that alters its host's coloration to bright green, making it extremely conspicuous during the winter and guaranteeing that it will soon be preyed upon by a predatory rat. After that, the fluke's eggs will eventually find their way onto the forest floor via the rat's feces, where they will be consumed by beetles which in turn are eaten by the toad, perpetuating their life cycle.
- After Man: A Zoology of the Future, by Dougal Dixon (1981)