Anaxyrus americanus has a short, stout body, with a short broad head bearing large parotoid glands and having a broadly circular snout. The back is covered with different-sized warts and the venter is granular. There are three or four pairs of dark spots down the back, each accompanied by one large wart. Eyes are prominent. The arms and legs are tubular and warty. They are generally olive in color, with a brown crest (Wright and Wright 1949).
Males are roughly 54-85 mm in length. The back, sides and tympana are a dull citrine color with olive-citrine or yellow olive color on their hind legs and forelegs. The pectoral region is covered with scattered black spots, and these spots occur over the entire venter except for the throat and the center of the posterior venter. There is some apricot-yellow color across the arm insertion. The pupil is rimmed with citron yellow (Wright and Wright 1949).
Females are roughly 56-110 mm in length. The back is a light brownish or buffy olive. The bigger warts are on the back, and the warts are in the centers of buffy brown colored spots. There is a stripe down the middle of the back, of a deep-olive buff color, yellow, or vinaceous-fawn, that leads from parotoid to groin. In the center of the breast, there is a dark spot (Wright and Wright 1949).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Canada, United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia
Canadian province distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec
Anaxyrus americanus can be found in Eastern North American, from the maritime provinces of Quebec and Ontario in Canada to Minnesota. Its range spans from the northern borders of the Gulf States, excluding Louisiana, and Texas. They can also be found in Arkansas, eastern Oaklahoma, and eastern Kansas (Schmidt 1953).
Within Canada, A. americanus can be found in Ungava, James Bay, and sometimes the coast of Hudson Bay. It also occurs from Prince Edward Island to East Manitoba, and has been introduced to parts of Newfoundland (Cook 1984).
During the periods where the toads are not reproducing, they live in within an area of approximately 100' x 100'. However, during the breeding period, they may move several thousand feet away.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Anaxyrus americanus lays its eggs between the months of April to July (Oliver 1955). The peak of the breeding season is usually late April (Wright and Wright 1949). Breeding sites are usually small ditches, small ponds, or slow, shallow streams (Johnson 1987). The male grasps the female behind her front legs, and she will begin laying her eggs (Johnson 1987).
Clutch size is usually 4,000-8,000 eggs, in a single string. The eggs will incubate for about 3-12 days before hatching. The tadpoles are dark, almost black. After the young toads metamorphose, they will migrate in mass numbers away from the water (Wright and Wright 1949).
Cook, F. R. (1984). Introduction to Canadian Amphibians and Reptiles. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.
Johnson, T. R. (1987). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City.
Oliver, J. A. (1955). The Natural History of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. D. Van Nostrand Campany, Ltd., Canada.
Schmidt, K. P. (1953). A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.
Wright, A. H. and Wright, A. A. (1949). Handbook of Frogs and Toads of the United States and Canada. Comstock Publishing Company, Inc., Ithaca, New York.
Written by Theresa Ly (tea_ly AT berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley URAP
First submitted 2001-04-25
Edited by Tate Tunstall, Kellie Whittaker (2012-08-15)
Feedback or comments about this page.
Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on
amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2015. Berkeley, California:
(Accessed: Mar 28, 2015).
AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.