Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Scaphiopus couchii
Couch's Spadefoot Toad

Val Verde Co., Texas
May 22, 1997

Spadefoot toads aren't around much.  They spend a great deal of their time buried in the soil, waiting for the rains that must eventually come.  When it does rain, the Spadefoots emerge and breed frantically in the temporary pools of water.  They feed and remain active while the water remains, but then return to their subterranean existence.  Spadefoot tadpoles, meanwhile, rapidly develop into frogs in a matter of days; indeed, they have the shortest development cycle of any amphibian.

The Spadefoots pictured here were found along the roadsides during the summer monsoon season in southeastern Arizona. The top specimen is a male; the bottom, a female.










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