Toad Tuesday

North American Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis)

North American Green Toad
photo by USGS
least concern


Common Name: Green Toad, North American Green Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus debilis
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Size: 1.4 inches (3.5 cm)

The North American Green Toad lives in the south-central United States and down to Mexico. It is often called just the Green Toad but that often leads to confusion with the European Green Toad (Bufo viridis). Obviously, the European species is found in Europe but can be confusing when googling. There are two subspecies of the North American toad that are recognized today, the Western (Anaxyrus debilis insidior) and the Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis debilis). The toads are rather secretive, often spending their day burrowed underground or hiding under logs or other objects. They come out at night to hunt for prey.

North American Green Toad
photo by John Clare

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the North American Green Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. The toad has a wide range and are thought to be abundant throughout it.

North American Green Toad Mating

Breeding takes place during or after the summer rains come. When these rains arrive from March to June, depend on location. As explosive breeders, the Green Toad generally only takes a few days to breed in temporary ponds filled by the summer rains. These ponds are free of some of the common predators of the toad’s eggs and tadpoles such as fish. They make amazing breeding sites besides the fact that they will eventually dry up. The tadpoles hatch from their eggs quickly, even within a day. The tadpoles also go through their metamorphoses fast, in less than three weeks. The male toad tries to get the attention of female frogs by calling in the shallows. Once a 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 around a thousand eggs. Neither parent provides any care for their offspring.

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