Frog of the Week

Houston Toad (Anaxyrus houstonensis)

photo by Dr Robert Thomas

Common Name: Houston Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus houstonensis
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Location: United States – Texas
Maximum Size: 3 inches (7.62 cm) for females, 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) for males

The Houston Toad is federally listed as an endangered species by the US government as well as being listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Redlist. It is only found between Houston and Austin areas in Texas. The development of these large cities are the main reason why the toad’s populations are dying out. The destruction of their habitat for agriculture is another reason.

The Houston Toad are not the best burrowers in the toad world so they stick to sandy soils which are easier for them to burrow in. Like most toads, the Houston Toad stays burrowed during the day and comes out at night to feed. The toad breeds anywhere between late January to June but most breeding occurs before May. Breeding is triggered by heavy rains with warm temperatures. The toads will come out of their burrows and migrate to pools, ponds, or flooded fields to breed. The water bodies are either freshly filled with rain water or permanent water bodies that are fish-less. The males will call for their females with their bright blue colored throat. Once the female selects a mate, they embrace of amplexus and the female lays her eggs and the males will fertilize them. The eggs then hatch into tadpoles in 48 hours and then take 2 to 7 weeks to complete their metamorphosis into toads.

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