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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Woodhouse's Toad - Anaxyrus woodhousii
Other Names:  Bufo woodhousii

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 2


 

External Links






Listen to an Audio Sample

WoodHouse's Toad Call, Copyright Doug Von Gausig, 1997
 
General Description
Adults have dry skin with small warts, and are gray, brown, or olive green with paler mottling or spots. A prominent white or yellowish line runs down the center of the back (very young transformed toads typically lack the dorsal line and often have reddish brown warts). Adult body length is 2.5 to 5 inches. Parallel cranial crests are present between the eyes and the post-orbital crests connect them at a right angle behind the eyes; the post-orbital crests typically touch the parotoid glands. If a lump is present on the snout it does not extend back between the eyes. Adults have two black tubercles on each hind foot. Eggs and Tadpoles: Similar to the Western Toad.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The Western Toad lacks cranial crests. The Great Plains Toad has large, white-bordered, dark dorsal blotches. The Canadian Toad has a lump between the eyes and frequently has the parotoid gland separate from the post-orbital crest, which is often broken. Note: it is difficult to distinguish among the four Montana toad species in recently transformed toadlets.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 1491

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Non-migratory.

Habitat
Adults are partially terrestrial but usually found near water; they typically breed in permanent lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and slow streams, where they prefer shallow areas with mud bottoms. They are usually found in irrigated agricultural areas and floodplains. Breeding and egg laying is spread out over spring and early summer. Most records are from non-forested eastern MT, but some occur in transition vegetation in ponderosa pine and savannah forests (Black 1970). Found in floodplains and moist grass areas around water (Black 1970, Baxter and Stone 1980).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at bmaxell@mt.gov or (406) 444-3655.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2001.  The wild mammals of Montana.  Special Publication No. 12.  Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists.  278 p.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Known to collect under street-lights and feed on insects. Prey includes virtually every kind of terrestrial invertebrate, and stomach contents can account for up to 16% of body weight. Food habits of early postmetamorphic stages in South Dakota discussed by Flowers and Graves (1995).

Ecology
Probably most versatile and wide-ranging toads in regard to distribution (Black 1970). Temperatures of 20 to 30 degrees C most favorable for nocturnal activity. During day remain under cover of rocks, or burrowed in soil or damp cover near water (Hammerson 1982). May live over 20 years in the wild (Engeman and Engeman 1996).

Reproductive Characteristics
Breed late April to July dependent on spring/summer rains. Breed in streams, rivers, irrigation ditches, in shallow water without strong current (Black 1970).

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
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Woodhouse's Toad — Anaxyrus woodhousii.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on October 30, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=AAABB01180
 
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