Toad Tuesday

Yosemite Toad (Anaxyrus canorus)

yosemite toad
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 lives 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 active at nocturnal. They live long for a toad 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. The males travel to these ponds once the breeding season start. Then, they will start to call to attract the female. Once the female arrives, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The female is capable of laying between 15000 to 2000 eggs. These females do not mate every year, another trade-off from their long lives. Neither of the parents provide any care for their offspring. The males and female toads look very different compared to each other.

Yosemite Toad Conservation

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. The toad is already listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. There are a lot of reasons for the decline in the toad’s population numbers. 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

Coastal Plains Toad (Incilius nebulifer)

Coastal Plains Toad
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: 3 – 5 inches (7.6 – 12.7 cm)

The Coastal Plains Toad is found along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. They 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. Additionally, they are one of the largest toads native to the United States and are known for their defined cranial crest.

photo by William L. Farr

The spring and summer rains bring the Coastal Plains Toad out to mate. The frogs breed in a variety of still-water sources such as ponds, wetlands, and roadside ditches. The males call out to females in hopes of attracting them from these water bodies. Once the female shows up, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. Surprisingly, the females can lay up to 20,000 eggs in a clutch and have been observed to lay two clutches in extended breeding seasons. Additionally, neither the male or female show any parental care towards the eggs. The eggs hatch in a day or two and the tadpoles then complete metamorphosis in 20 to 30 days. Once the juvenile frogs reach a year old, they reach sexual maturity and are ready to breed.

The International Union for the Conservation (IUCN) Red List places the Coastal Plains Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. They have adapted alright to the urbanization of their habitat. They have been observed to hide under concrete slabs and in cracks and holes of sidewalks. The frogs seem to be doing great.

Toad Tuesday

Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

Oak Toad
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 (32 mm) 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. They get their name from their preferred habitat – Oak forests.

Oak Toad
photo by Eric Shashoua

Breeding takes place from April to October, depending on the arrival of the heavy, warm rains. Breeding mostly peaks in the early spring. The mating call of the males sound like baby chickens. They will call out from the shallows of water bodies to attract the females. Once the female arrives, the male will grasp her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize it. While the Oak Toad is small, the female can lay up to 700 eggs, but average between 300 – 500 eggs. The tadpoles hatch from their eggs in a day and fully undergo metamorphosis in a month or two. Neither parent provides any care for their offspring.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Oak Toad as Least Concern for extinction. They have a good size range but their habitat is threatened by urban development.

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). 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.

photo by John Clare

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.

Frog of the Week

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas)

Western Toad
photo by Walter Siegmund
least concern


Common Name: Western Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus boreas
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Locations: Canada, Mexico, and the United States
US Locations: Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming
Size: 2.2 – 5 inches (5.6 – 13 cm)

The Western Toad lives in the western North America, from Alaska down to Baja California. There are two subspecies of the toad, the California Toad (A. b. halophilus) and the Boreal Toad (A. b. boreas). The California Toad resides in California (duh), northern Baja California, and western Nevada. The Boreal Toad live in the northern parts of the range.

Once the toad emerges from hibernation, they migrate to temporary ponds filled by the melting snow to breed. Due to the wide range and differences in altitudes, the breeding season is from February to July. Farther north and higher altitude places breed later than more southern and lower altitude places. Once the males arrive at the ponds, they start to sing out for the females. As soon as, the females arrive, the male tries to grab the female from the behind in the amplexus position. If the female accepts, the female lays her eggs. She lays as many as 12,000 eggs in a clutch. Then, the male fertilizes the eggs. Neither parent provides any care for the offspring.

Western Toad
photo from USGS/Chris Brown

Western Toad Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Western Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. However, some populations of the toad are not doing so hot. Western Toads are listed in Colorado as an endangered species. They are listed as a protected species in Wyoming. Chytrid Fungus, a deadly pathogen, seems to be the main problem for the Western Toads. Additionally, habitat destruction is another problem for the toads.

Frog of the Week

Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus)

photo by the USGS
least concern

Common Name: Red-Spotted Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus punctatus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toads
Locations:  Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah
Size: 3.7 to 7.5 cm (1.5 to 3.0 in)

The Red-Spotted Toad is found in the southwestern United States down to almost Mexico City, Mexico. They are sorta your typical toad. They spent their days hidden in rock crevices or under rocks but they come out at night to hunt. The toads can survive losing 40% of the bodies water.

Breeding takes place from March to September, depending on location and habitat. Red-Spotted Toads that live near streams breed from March to June and typically breed 2 to 4 weeks. Populations that live in the desert breed from June to September, depending on when the summer rains come. These toads breed in pools form by the rain and only breed for a few days. The tadpoles take one to two months to complete their metamorphism.

photo by William Flaxington

Males will arrive at the breeding sites first and will start to call. The male toads will wrestle each other over better breeding territory. Once a female selects a mate, the male will grasp the female from behind. The female will then lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them. The females lay on average around 1500 eggs. After mating, the toads part ways and provide no care for the offspring.

The Red-Spotted Toad hybridizes with a few different toads including the Western Toad, Great Plains Toad, Woodhouse’s Toad, and Sonoran Green Toad.

Frog of the Week

Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad (Bombina pachypus)

Alpine Yellow-Bellied Toad
photo by Benny Trapp
Conservation status is Endangered


Common Name: Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad
Scientific Name: Bombina pachypus
Family: Bombinatoridae – Fire Bellied Toad family
Locations Italy
Size: 1.3 inches – 2.1 inches (35-55 mm)

The Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad is a diurnal (active during the day) species of toad, which is kinda unusual for most frogs and toads. It probably has to do with the fact that the toads needs to show off its bright, yellow belly to warn predators that they are toxic. Worth wise, it would be hard to see if its dark out. Other frogs and toads want to stay hidden during the day to avoid predators. When threatened by a predator, the toad arches its back to show off its belly. In fact, scientists named this posture the unken reflex.

The Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad hibernates from November to late April. I wish I could hibernate during that time too. After waking up, the toads get to work to start breeding. They breed from May all the way to September. Mating takes place in temporary bodies of water First, males will start calling to attract females. Once the female selects a male, the male grasps her from behind in the amplexus position. Then, the female lays her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female can lay a couple eggs to a couple dozen of eggs. In addition, neither parent provides any care for the offspring.

Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad in Danger

Populations of the Apennine Yellow-bellied Toad have been decreasing. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List lists the toad as Endangered. It is thought that Chytrid Fungus is one of the culprits behind the drops. The deadly disease Chytrid Fungus affects amphibians around the globe. The toad is the first Italian species of amphibian to be confirmed to have Chytrid Fungus. Another reason for the declines include habitat loss due to farming.

Frog of the Week

Mexican Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata)

Mexican Spadefoot Toad
photo by Sarah Beckwith
leastconcern


Common Name: Mexican Spadefoot Toad, New Mexican Spadefoot Toad, Southern Spadefoot Toad, and Desert Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Spea multiplicata
Family: Scaphiopodidae – American Spadefoot Toad family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah
Size: 2.5 inches (6.35 cm)

The Mexican Spadefoot Toad lives in the southwestern United States and most of central Mexico. They live in a wide range of habitats from desert grassland, sagebrush, and woodlands. Like all spadefoot toads, they have keratinized spade-like projections on their hind legs. They use these spades to burrow into the ground. The toad spends most of the day underground, coming up at night to hunt and look for mates. Their diet consist mostly of arthropods and insects.

For the breeding season, it usually takes place after heavy rains. The rain fills up pools and ponds that are used for breeding. These pools and ponds only last a few weeks tops. The whole breeding season only last one or two days. Therefore, the eggs hatch in a few days and it only takes the tadpoles a couple weeks to undergo metamorphosis.

The males call out from the shallows of water bodies to attract the female toads. 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 around a thousand eggs at a time. Neither parent provides any parental care for their offspring.

Mexican Spadefoot Toad
photo by Adam G Clause

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Mexican Spadefoot Toad as Least Concern for Extinction. They have a wide distribution and are thought to be abundant throughout their range. Also, the toads are highly adaptable to urbanization of their habitat.

Uncategorized

Wyoming Toad (Anaxyrus baxteri)

photo by Sara Armstrong

EW
Common Name: Wyoming Toad, Baxter’s Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus baxteri
Family: Bufonidae
Location: United States – Wyoming
Size: 2 inches

The Wyoming Frog is a federally listed endangered species in the US. It is only found in the Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming and in captivity. The number of Wyoming Toads started a sharp decline in the 1970s until there was under 50 individuals left. It is believed that Chytrid fungus, a fungal infection that suffocates the toad, maybe the reason behind the decline. Other possible reasons for the decline including habitat destruction, toxic pesticide use, and climate change. Luckily, some toads were brought into captivity to survive and reproduce but because of the fungus still out in its habitat, the toad population hasn’t been able to bounce back. The future of the toad depends on solving the Chytrid fungus crisis.

Frog of the Week

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

1280px-Common_toad_(Bufo_bufo)_Kampinos
Common Toad – photo from https://www.sharpphotography.co.uk/

leastconcern
Common Name: Common Toad
Scientific Name: Bufo bufo
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Location: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom
Size: 6 inches

The Common Toad is found almost everywhere in Europe besides on some islands such as Iceland and Ireland. The Common Toad is kind of your standard toad. They are highly terrestrial besides during breeding season where they migrate to ponds to breed. Breeding usually takes place in spring when the toads wake up from hibernation.