Toad Tuesday

Arroya Toad (Anaxyrus californicus)

Arroyo_toad
photo by USFWS

Conservation status is Endangered
Common Name: Arroya Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus californicus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Location: California
Size: 3 inches (7.6 cm)

The Arroya Toad is only found in southern California and Baja California. It is listed as a federally endangered species by the United States federal government. It has been estimated that the toad has lost 75% of its original range due to humans. Much of their habitat has been ruined due to damming of creeks and off roading activities. Invasive species introduced into their environment such as American Bull Frogs and trouts have feasted on them. These threats must be handled to save the species.

The Arroya Toad has a typical breeding behavior for a toad. Breeding takes place from March to the end of July. The male toads release high calls to attract the females from shallow water bodies. Eventually, the toads meet up and the male will grasp the female in amplexus. The female releases over 4000 eggs. It takes over two months for the tadpoles to develop into toads.

 

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Toad Tuesday

Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

southern_toad
photo by Norman Benton

least concern
Common Name: Southern Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus terrestris
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Female Size: 1.7 – 3.6 inches (44 – 92 mm)
Male Size: 1.6 – 3.2 inches (42 – 82 mm)

The Southern Toad is your typical toad. It is nocturnal and is hidden in a burrow or under rocks or logs during the day. In the spring, the toads migrate to a variety of different water bodies, including lakes, ponds, ditches and canals, to breed. The toads breed in temporary and permanent water sources. The males will call from shallow waters close to shore to attract their mates. The males will embrace the female in amplexus and the female will lay her eggs. Around 2500 – 4000 eggs are laid. The eggs hatch in two to four days and complete metamorphism in one to two months.

Toad Tuesday

Evergreen Toad (Incilius coniferus)

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photo by Brian Gratwicke

least concern

Common Name: Green Climbing Toad, Evergreen Toad
Scientific Name: Incilius coniferus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Panama
Male Size: 2 – 2.8 inches (53-72 mm)
Female Size: 3 – 3.7 inches (76-94 mm)

The Evergreen Toad is different than most toads in that it climbs trees and vines, making it semi arboreal. Its been reporter that they can climb at least three feet high. They don’t breed in the trees, like in some species of tree frogs, but in shallow pools and ponds like most toad species. This happens during the dry season from December to April. After the eggs are laid, it takes them about five days to hatch into tadpoles. The tadpoles take 33 days to undergo metamorphism.

Toad Tuesday

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus)

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photo by William Flaxington

least concern
Common Name: Great Plains Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus cognatus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Canada, Mexico, the United States
US Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming
Size: 2 – 4.5 inches

The adult Great Plains Toad spends most of its life burrowed underground. They are nocturnal so the best time to see them is at night when they are foraging for food. Toads have been seen out of their burrows during the day during rains or just after. They can also be seen outside their burrows during the mating season. When the heavy spring rains come, the toads emerge from their burrows and move to their breeding area.

The breeding season is generally between March and September but in the northern part of the range, its restricted to May to July. The Great Plains Toad breed in a variety of habitats such as temporary pools, slow streams, holding ponds, and irrigation ditches. The toads prefer temporary bodies of water but will use permanent bodies. Males call from the shores to attract females. Females approach males that they deem fit and mating happens. After the female lays her clutches of eggs, both the male and female leave the eggs on their own.

Eggs hatch in under a week and the tadpoles begin to undergo metamorphosis between 17 and 45 days. Metamorphism happens rather quickly due to the Great Plains Toad’s preference for temporary pools and the fear of the pools drying out before the toads finish undergoing their metamorphism.

Toad Tuesday

Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus)

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photo by William Flaxington

Conservation status is Endangered

Common Name: Yosemite Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus canorus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – California
Size: 3.3 inches (84 mm)

The Yosemite Toad is found in the central Sierra Nevada mountain range at elevations between 8,500-10,000 feet. These toads are a diurnal species, active during the day compared to most toads that are nocturnal. They are a relatively long lived species, capable of living 15 years. The trade-off is that toads take a while to reach sexual maturity, over 3 years. Breeding season is from May to August. Typical breeding sites are shallow pools and small, slow moving streams. Females can lay up between 15000 to 2000 eggs. These females do not mate every year, another trade-off from their long lives. The males and female toads look very different compared to each other.

The Yosemite Toad is listed as a federally threatened species by the United States government. It is most likely going to be added to the endangered species list. There are a lot of reasons for the decline in the toads. Habitat degradation by cattle grazing is one of the main reasons. Other reasons include the introduction of non-native game fish, droughts increased by climate change, and possibly climate change. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) designated 1.8 million acres of land as a protected area for the Yosemite Toad and other threatened species.

Toad Tuesday

Black Toad (Anaxyrus exsul)

blacktoad.jpg
photo by Scott Trageser

vulnerable
Common Name: Black Toad, Inyo Toad, and Deep Springs Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus exsul
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: United States – California
Size: 1.75 – 3 inches

The Black Toad lives in the Deep Springs Valley in Inyo County in California, which explains some of its names. They are found near springs, marshes, ponds, and bogs as they are more aquatic than most toad species. Breeding takes place in these water bodies from March into May. The male toads do not make a mating call to attract females.  The mating pairs go through the usual toad mating with amplexus, ending with laying eggs in the shallow water. The eggs hatch in under 5 days. The larval phase of the toad doesn’t last long, between 3 and 5 weeks long.

The Black Toad is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to their small range. Their whole range is on the property of the Deep Springs Valley College. The college grazes their livestock in the area during the winter, when the toads are hibernating, to not disturb the toads. They also take care of the vegetation in the area and protect the streams.

Toad Tuesday

Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Pelobates syriacus)

spadefoot.jpeg
photo by  Omid Mozaffari

least concern
Common Name: Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Syrian Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Pelobates syriacus
Family: Pelobatidae – European Spadefoot Toad
Locations: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Syria, and Turkey
Size: 3.5 inches

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is found in Eastern Europe and in Western Asia. Like all spadefoot toads, they have an inner metatarsal tubercle aka the spade on their rear feet. The Eastern Spadefoot Toad’s spade is yellow in color. They use these spades to burrow deep into the ground but they can also use rodent burrows. They come out of these burrows to hunt at night, eating insects, spiders, mollusks, and arthropods.

 

Toad Tuesday

Coastal Plains Toad (Incilius nebulifer)

coastalplainstoad
photo by Kevin Young

least concern
Common Name: Coastal Plains Toad
Scientific Name: Incilius nebulifer
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Location: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi
Size: 5 inches

The Coastal Plains Toad used to be part of the Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps) species but was split off due to genetic testing. It is still kinda confusing even though it happened over 20 years ago.

The spring and summer rains bring the males out to start calling to attract females. They will breed in a variety of still-water sources such as ponds, wetlands, and roadside ditches. Females can lay up to 20,000 eggs in a clutch and have been observed to lay two clutches in extended breeding seasons. Neither the male or female show any parental care towards the eggs. The eggs will hatch in a day or two and the tadpoles will complete metamorphosis in 20 to 30 days.

The Coastal Plains Toad has adapted alright to the urbanization of their habitat. They have been observed to hide under concrete slabs and in cracks and holes of sidewalks.

Toad Tuesday

Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

b_quercicus_usgs
photo by the USGS

least concern
Common Name: Oak Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus quercicus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Size: 1.25 inches max

The Oak Toad is the smallest toad in North America, not even reaching 2 inches when it is fully grown. They are also interesting in the fact that they are mostly diurnal, active during the day, while most true toads in North America are nocturnal, active during the night.

Breeding takes place from April to September, depending on the arrival of the heavy, warm rains. The mating call of the males sound like baby chickens. While the Oak Toad is small, the female can lay up to 700 eggs. Tadpoles hatch from their eggs in a day and fully undergo metamorphosis in a month or two.

Toad Tuesday

North American Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis)

GreenToad
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

The North American Green Toad is found 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). There are two subspecies of North American Green Toad that are recognized today, the Western Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis insidior) and the Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis debilis). 

Breeding takes place during or after the summer rains come. When these rains arrive from Match 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.