Spadefoot Toad

A dark green bumpy toad in the hollow of a gloved hand
A single spadefoot toad was identified in Yellowstone National Park in 2013. A breeding population of Plains spadefoot toads was confirmed in 2014.

NPS

 

Scientific Name

Spea bombifrons

Identification

  • A single breeding population has been identified in the Lower Geyser Basin east of Fairy Creek in Yellowstone National Park.
  • Protruding eyes with vertical pupils, and a prominent bony boss (raised bump) between the eyes.
  • Have a single, dark tubercle, or “spade,” on each of their hind feet.

Habitat

  • Uses it’s spade to dig shallow summer burrows or deeper winter burrows. Newly metamorphosed animals may burrow in mud near their natal pond or hide in cracks in the hard earth.
  • Typically occur in warmer climates in the western United States, and it has been speculated that spadefoots may be found in geothermally influenced habitat in Yellowstone that facilitates overwinter survival.

Behavior

  • Breeds in ephemeral pools following significant rainfall.
  • Tadpoles develop from eggs in 2 to 6 days.
  • Produces cannibalistic and noncannibalistic tadpole body types.
  • Tadpoles develop for 3 to 6 weeks before metamorphosis.
 
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Amphibians

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Last updated: June 9, 2017

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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

307-344-7381

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