|RED-SPOTTED TOAD Anaxyrus punctatus|
DESCRIPTION: Up to 3 inches in length, this small toad has a flattened head and body and round glands (parotoid glands) at the back of each side of the head that are about the same size as the eyes. Red-spotted toads lack prominent crests on the head. It is pale gray to tan above with small red or yellowish-red warts. Larger tadpoles are black or dark brown with metallic, bronze flecking. They grow to about 1.5 inches.
DISTRIBUTION: Found at or near temporary or permanent water sources, often in rocky canyons or stream courses, from near sea level in southwestern Arizona into grasslands, Great Basin Desert, oak woodlands, and coniferous forests of central and southeastern Arizona, and the Colorado Plateau of northern Arizona. Absent from the highest montane areas and the Yuma Desert
BEHAVIOR: Red-spotted toads often spend the day in rock crevices or under rocks, and then emerge at dusk and walk to a nearby water source to forage or breed. They climb surprisingly well. Breeding males will engage in wrestling matches during territorial disputes. Red-spotted toads can tolerate a 40% loss in body water and still be active during dry periods.
DIET: Red-spotted toads eat a variety of arthropods, including ants, beetles, bees, and bugs. Large red-spotted toads have been observed eating recently metamorphosed toads.
REMARKS: In Arizona, this species has hybridized with the Sonoran green toad, and the larger Woodhouse’s and Great Plains toads.
Sullivan, B.K., and P.J. Fernandez. 1999. Breeding activity, estimated age-structure, and growth in Sonoran Desert anurans. Herpetologica 55(3):334-343.
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