Great Plains Toad
Body length: 1 3/4 - 4 1/2"
Great Plains toads are a species which is rarely seen but may actually be common. Although they occur at Tonto National Monument, at least in desert areas north of Route 188, Great Plains toads were not detected here for many years. Like many desert toads, Great Plains toads emerge from underground almost exclusively during and following summer rains.
Like some other amphibians, some male Great Plains toads exhibit an unusual breeding behavior. Most individuals give loud advertisement calls to attract females to their positions in a pond or stream. Meanwhile, a smaller number of "satellite males", or "cheaters", wait silently nearby. As females approach, the satellite males attempt to intercept and breed with them, effectively stealing them from their more vocal rivals. Research indicates that more than half of all males try this tactic at some point. Evidently, cheaters sometimes win!
Did You Know?
Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.