AMPHIBIAWEB
Scaphiopus couchii
Couch's Spadefoot, Couch's Spadefoot Toad
family: Scaphiopodidae

© 2013 Scott Trageser (1 of 52)

  hear call (86.4K RM file)
  hear call (3932.6K WAV file)

[call details here]

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.


Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Least Concern (LC)
See IUCN account.
NatureServe Status Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
CITES No CITES Listing
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

   

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Description
Usually greenish, greenish-yellow, or brownish yellow with blotches of dark spots. Like all members of the family Pelobatidae, S. couchii has a black, keratinized spade on its hind feet. This species can be distinguished by its sickle-shaped spade (Stebbins 1985)

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico, United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Occurs from southwest Oklahoma, central New Mexico, and south-central Arizona to the tip of Baja California, Nayarit and south San Luis Potosi; southeast California to central Texas. Some isolated populations are in the vicinity of Petrified Forest National Monument and southeast of La Junta, Otero Co., Colorado. Also, some scattered populations in California between Amos and Ogilby on eastern side of Algodones Dunes; Purgatory and Buzzard’s Peak Washes, Imperial Co.

Scaphiopus couchii is often found in shortgrass plains, mesquite savannah, creosote bush desert, thornforest and tropical deciduous forest (west Mexico) and other areas of low rainfall. Information from Stebbins (1985)

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Scaphiopus couchii burrow backwards into the ground to avoid the heat and desiccation common to desert habitats. Toadlets can often remain active longer than adults which hibernate for 9-10 months out of the year about 1 m below the surface. Adults emerge after annual rains arrive, usually in May, and stay active until September. They breed in ephemeral ponds and feed during this terrestrial period, usually on desert invertebrates for no more than 20 nights. It is not uncommon for this species to exhibit phenotypic plasticity for age at metamorphosis and even cannibalistic morphs.

Comments

See another account at californiaherps.com.

References
 

Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.  

Tinsley, R. C. (1995). ''Parasitic disease in amphibians.'' Parasitology, 111(supplement), 25.



Written by Andrea Swei (ande AT uclink4.berkeley.edu), UC Berkeley
First submitted 1999-02-23
Edited by Vance Vredenburg (2008-02-03)



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2014. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: http://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed: Oct 25, 2014).

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