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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

American Toad, Bufo americanus


american toad
The American Toad, Bufo americanus, is divided into two subspecies, the Eastern American Toad, B. a. americanus, and the Dwarf American Toad, B. a. charlesmithi. The Eastern American Toad is a medium sized toad usually found in the range from 2 to over 3 1/2 inches. The color and pattern is somewhat variable. The Eastern American Toad has spots that contain only one - two warts (photo to right). It also has enlarged warts on the tibia or lower leg below the knee. While the belly is usually spotted, it is generally more so on the forward half (photo below right; in some rare individuals there may be few or no spots). Other species which may be confused with the Eastern American Toad are Fowler's Toad, which has three or more warts in the largest dark spots, and in the far west of its range Woodhouse's Toad. This species will give you the most trouble. It never has a spotted belly and both cranial crests touch the parotid glands. In the Eastern American Toad they almost never touch the parotid glands (fig. to right).
american toad ventral view of american toad
The Eastern American Toad may be confused with the Canadian Toad in the area where they overlap, but the cranial crests in the American Toad do not join to form a raised "boss" (bump) like they do in the Canadian Toad. Its range also overlaps with the Southern Toad's, but in this species the cranial crests form two unique knobs.
American Toad American Toad
The "red phase" of the Eastern American Toad. This specimen is from Maryland.
American Toad American Toad
Dwarf American Toad
The Dwarf American Toad, Bufo americanus charlesmithi, (photo to right) is a smaller version of the American Toad. The Dwarf American Toad reaches lengths of about 2 1/2 inches and is generally a dark reddish color. The spots on the back are reduced or absent, and when present they contain at most one wart. The ventral surface or belly is usually cream colored with a few dark spots in the breast area. This subspecies can be distinguished from the above mentioned species in the same manner as for the Eastern American Toad. The southwestern portion of the Dwarf American Toad's range overlaps with that of the Gulf Coast Toad. The latter species is distinguished by the presence of a dark lateral stripe in as well as a deep "valley" between its prominent cranial crests.
American Toad Range

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