Frog of the Week

Great Plains Narrow Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea)

pic from the National Park Service

Common Name: Great Plains Narrow Mouth Toad or Western Narrow Mouth Toad
Scientific Name: Gastrophryne olivacea
Family: Microhylidae
Location: Mexico and the United States
US States Location: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Size: 1.5 inches (38.1 mm)

While the Great Plains Narrow Mouth Toad is called a toad, they are not considered a “true toad” from the family Bufonidae. “True Toads” have a parotoid gland behind their eye that contains their poison. The Narrow Mouthed Toads do not have this. The toads vary in color from gray, brown, and olive green. Males of the species usually have a dark, yellow throat. Their bellies are light in color with no markings, unlike the Eastern Narrowed Mouthed Toad. The toads have a pointed head that helps them eat ants and other small invertebrates. They even produce a toxin on their skin to protect them from ant bites.

photo by John Clare

The Great Plains Narrow Mouth Toad is usually found burrowed into the ground. They like to stay hidden the majority of the time and are nocturnal. The best time to see the toads is during the hot, summer rains. The toads come out to breed in temporary ponds made by these rains. The males will call out for females. Their call has been described as the sound of angry bees or sheep. Females can lay up to 600 eggs. Neither parent provides any parental care for their offspring.

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