• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

Great Plains Toad

great plains toad

Great Plains Toad

NPS Photo

Great Plains Toad
Bufo cognatus

Body length: 1 3/4 - 4 1/2"
Diet: Insects

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?

cotton fiber with spindle and whorl

One of the earliest known cotton farming communities, dating from approximately AD 100 - 600, is located near Tonto National Monument.