The genus Rhinella was split from Bufo by Frost et al in 2006, then redefined by Chaparro et al in 2007 to include this species. Most references still use the long-established Bufo marinus for this species.
The cane toad is native to the Americas. This area encompasses both tropical and semi-arid environments. The density of the cane toad is significantly lower within its native distribution than in places where it has been introduced. In South America, the density was recorded to be 20 adults per 100 metres (109 yards) of shoreline, 50–100 times lower than the density in Australia.
The cane toad has poison glands, and the tadpoles are highly toxic to most animals if ingested. Because of its voracious appetite, the cane toad has been introduced to many regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean islands as a method of agricultural pest control. The species derives its common name from its use against the cane beetle (Dermolepida albohirtum). The cane toad is now considered a pest and an invasive species in many of its introduced regions; of particular concern is that its toxic skin kills many animals—native predators and otherwise—when ingested