Anaxyrus fowleri is an abundant toad of relatively small size, ranging from 2.00-3.75 inches SVL. While this species usually displays an immaculate venter, many specimens have been observed to have a single dark spot on the chest. Characteristically, this species has a light-colored middorsal stripe, coupled with a brown or gray dorsal surface, though some individuals may have a green or reddish dorsal surface. In general, A. fowleri characteristically displays at least three of the following characteristics: tibia with no greatly enlarged warts, no spots on the chest or belly, the largest dark spots containing at least three warts, and a parotoid gland that borders the cranial ridge (Conant and Collins 1991).
Similar species may be distinguished by the following features: 1) the American Toad displays no more than 2 warts in dark regions coupled with a spotted chest; 2) the Gulf Coast Toad possesses a prominent dark stripe instead of the light colored stripe observed in A. fowleri; and, 3) the posterior region of the cranial crest of the Southern Toad displays pronounced knobs.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Canada, United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia
Canadian province distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Ontario
Anaxyrus fowleri is abundant along the coastal plain from Long Island to North Carolina. Moving inland from the coast, sandy regions near lakes and river valleys provide an ample habitat for the species. Following periods of long drought, A. fowleri may be observed in large numbers in regions normally not associated with the species via the onset of warm, heavy rains. The toad is not observed in Florida and southern regions of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, but may range from central New England to western Michigan. This species may also be found in northwest regions of Arkansas and eastern Louisiana (Conant and Collins 1991).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The vocalizations of Fowler's Toad may last from 1-4 seconds. The mating season lasts from the spring months to mid-August. Hybridization can occur with other species, and the calls of hybrid males are difficult to identify (Conant and Collins 1991).
The species was named after an early Massachusetts naturalist, S. P. Fowler.
This species was featured in News of the Week 26 June 2023:
Many frogs all over the world are in danger of extinction, but scientists have strategies to try and prevent mass extinctions. Conservation translocation—movement of animals from one place to another—is one such strategy. However, there is no reliable information on whether this method works in the wild for frogs. Researchers from the Memphis Zoo and Oregon State University (Poo et al. 2022) set out to find out: can frogs produced from cryopreserved sperm be used to create new and healthy populations in the wild? Using Fowler's toads (Anaxyrus fowleri), they found that tadpoles from cryopreserved sperm and post-metamorphic toadlets were smaller than their natural counterparts. They project that these early-stage differences in growth continue to become substantial differences in final life fecundity and population trends. Their study shows that more work needs to focus on cryopreservation technologies in order to make them feasible for conservation translocation. (Read more "Can freezing frog sperm help with conservation efforts?") (Written by Sinlan Poo)
Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Originally submitted by: Kevin Gin (first posted 2001-04-25)
Edited by: Vance T. Vredenburg, Kellie Whittaker (2023-06-25)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Anaxyrus fowleri: Fowler's Toad <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/173> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 9, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 9 Dec 2023.
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