Frog of the Week

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

American toad

Common Name: American Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Location: United States and Canada
US Locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, and West Virginia
Size: 2 – 4.3 inches (5 – 10.9 cm)

The American toad lives in the eastern United States and Canada. They are a member of the true toad family, Bufonidae. They are a fossorial species, meaning they spent a lot of time burrowed under the ground. However, the toads do come up at night to hunt for insects to eat. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the toad as Least Concern for Extinction. This is due to the frogs having a wide range and large populations throughout it.

The American toad is separated into three sub species, the Eastern American Toad, the Dwarf American toad, and the Hudson Bay Toad. The Dwarf toad are often smaller, more red, and don’t have spots on its belly. Hudson Bay toads are extremely rare and are only found in the Hudson Bay area in Canada. The Eastern toad is the most common one, pictured above.

American Toad tadpoles

For the biology aspect of the toad, females reach sizes up to 4.3 inches while males are shorter, only reaching 3.3 inches. The American toad usually breeds from April to July. The males call out from the shallows of water bodies to attract the females. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays anywhere between 3,000 – 8,000 eggs in a clutch. Neither parent will provide any care for the offspring. Next, the eggs hatch into tiny dark black tadpoles.

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