near Sierra Vista, Cochise County, Arizona—August 7, 2004
My friend Roger Repp of the Tucson Herpetological Society
calls these "junk toads" because they are so common in the area. But heck, I'd never encountered them before, and they look like little space aliens, so I think they're great. Like most of the toads that live in southern Arizona's hot desert, these guys are mostly seen only in the late summer monsoon season, when this part of Arizona gets most of its rainfall.
I saw these three and several others driving around at night. The lighter individuals at top are male; the darker individual at bottom is a female. The bottom two toads are both topped with fine red dust, showing that they spent their day buried in the desert sand.
near Animas, Hidalgo County, New Mexico—August 14, 2013
The reticulated pattern of darker and lighter areas mark this spadefoot as a female. Males have little or no pattern.
near Animas, Hidalgo County, New Mexico—August 4, 2014
I have not yet gotten bored of these colorful and wide-eyed creatures, despite how common they are.
near Animas, Hidalgo County, New Mexico—August 22, 2016
These guys are just so goofy and improbable, especially in the middle of the desert. You gotta love 'em.
Cochise County, Arizona—August 23, 2016
A few more from across the state line the next evening. Road-cruising for snakes at night is more fun when you can always stop for a funny-looking toad or three.
Cochise County, Arizona—August 24, 2016
Just one more picture, I can't resist!
near Álamos, Sonora, Mexico—August 20, 2017
Couch's Spadefoot ranges down throughout most of Sonora, and are just as cute down there as they are up in Arizona.
- Behler, J. L., King, F. W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles & Amphibians
- Brennan, T. C. and Holycross, A. T. 2006. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona
- Crother, B. I. (ed.) 2017. Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding, Eighth Edition
- Degenhardt, W. G., Painter, C. W., Price, A. H. 1996. Amphibians & Reptiles of New Mexico
- Elliott, L., Gerhardt, C. and Davidson, C. 2009. The Frogs and Toads of North America
- Stebbins, R. C. 2003. Peterson Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition