Gastrophryne carolinensis (Holbrook 1836)
găs-trō-frī'-nē — kă-rə-līn-ĭn-sĭs

Conservation Status:

State: Kansas Threatened Species

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S1 - Critically Imperiled
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure

Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
Eggs of Gastrophryne carolinensis floating in a Cherokke County roadside ditch. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A tadpole of Gastrophryne carolinensis. Image © Altig et al. (2006).
Eggs of an Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad from Cherokee County, Kansas. Image © Suzanne L. Collins.

Small, flattened frog with a pointed snout and a fold of skin across the back of the head. Their coloration can be extremely variable but typically consists of a light reddish to brown ground color with an indistinct dark blotch beginning between the eyes and expanding down the back to the legs. The belly is usually heavily mottled with dark brown against a light cream background. The toes are not webbed.
Adults normally 22- 32 mm (½- 1¼ inches) in snout-vent length. The largest Kansas specimen is a male (KU 218746) from Cherokee County with a snout-vent length of 37 mm (1 7/16 inches) collected by Travis W. Taggart, Shane Eckhardt, Kelly J. Irwin, and Joseph T. Collins on 28 September 1991. The maximum length throughout the range: 1½ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

This small frog is known only from the extreme southeastern Cherokee County within the Spring River drainage basin. It's primary population is on the Ozark Plateau, however, it follows riparian corridors along Brush, Shawnee, and Cow creeks to the north and west into the Cherokee Plain.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 72
  • 35
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 37
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Cherokee (72);

Natural History:
Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toads feed on a variety of invertebrates but are particularly fond of ants.
They breed in the summer as adults converge at temporary water bodies, including ditches, flooded grasslands, and streams on rainy summer nights. The call sounds like the bleat of a lamb lasting 1 to 4 seconds. Unlike most other Kansas frogs their singly laid eggs float on the surface of the water.
They are secretive and outside of the breeding season but may be found by overturning rocks, boards, or logs in woodland habitats or encountered as they forage across rain-soaked roadways.

Occurrence Activity:
The blue dates denote chorusing actity. The red dates are other occurrences. The darker a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.

Audio recording by Keith Coleman.

Chorusing Phenology: The black outlined dots denote the Julian date (day of the year; 1 January = 1 to 31 December = 365) an observation was made. The thin red line depicts the range of dates between the beginning of the first, and end of the fourth quartile (excluding outliers; Tukey method). The thick light blue bar represents the second and third quartile (interquartile range; the middle 50% of all observations). Only one observation per Julian date is included in the graphs; so a date with multiple observations carries the same weight as a date with only one observation. The vertical bars correspond to the 12 months of the year; January through December.
# Unique Obervations: 37; Range: 23 May to 29 Jul; Interquartile range: 06 Jun to 21 Jul;

Observation Type: (of recorded types)
The Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad was first reported in Kansas by Smith (1947). The earliest existing specimen is from 1947 (KU 24414).
Collins (1982) extensively surveyed the Ozark Plateau for this taxon and discovered several new localities, doubling the number of known vouchers at the time (from 3 to 6). He suggested that this taxon be designated as a State Endangered Species. Miller (1991) studied this frog in the Ozark Plateau and provided additional information on its distribution and habitat requirements. Further efforts to study these frogs in Kansas should include surveys along Brush, Shawnee, and Cow creeks to better determine the northern and western limits of their range in the state.
Listed as a Threatened species in Kansas in 1987 and no recovery plan has been completed.
As defined by Kansas Administrative Regulation, critical habitats include those areas documented as currently supporting self-sustaining population(s) of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife as well as those areas determined by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism to be essential for the conservation of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife.
Currently, the following areas are designated as critical habitat for Eastern Narrowmouth Toad:
All suitable habitats within that portion of Cherokee County lying south and east of a line beginning at the Kansas-Missouri border at NE corner Sec. 36, T32S, R25E, then extending due west to the NW corner Sec. 32, T32S, R25E, then extending due south to the SW corner Sec. 17, T34S, R25E, then following US 66 southwesterly to the Kansas-Oklahoma border at the NW/4 Sec. 13, T35S, R24E.

1925 Linsdale, Jean M. Land Vertebrates of a Limited Area in Eastern Kansas. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 312pp.
1947 Smith, Hobart M. Microhyla carolinensis in Kansas. Herpetologica 4():13-14
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1972 Nelson, Craig E. Gastrophryne carolinensis. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (120):1-4
1973 Nelson, Craig E. Gastrophryne. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (134):1-2
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Perry, Janice. Kansas herps needed. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (18):2-3
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1978 Curl, Richard L. Final Environmental Statement: Milford Lake Kansas operation and maintenance. US Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District. 158pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of three amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 57pp.
1988 Busby, William H. The Kansas Natural Heritage Program: Taking stock of Kansas' natural heritage. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):9-12
1989 Capron, Marty. Threatened and endangered: A critique of the Kansas list. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (76):14-15
1989 Simmons, John E. Endangered and threatened in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (75):4-5
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1991 Miller, Larry L. Study of the Eastern Narrowmouth Toad in southeast Kansas Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 12pp.
1992 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (87):12-17
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas endangered, threatened, and SINC species. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. 1994 Field Trip Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (95):3-4
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2006 Altig, Ronald, Roy W. McDiarmid, Kimberly A. Nichols, and Paul C. Ustach Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key Electronic files accessible at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/tadpole/. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. ():
2006 Anderson, Lewis R. and Joseph A. Arruda. Land use and anuran biodiversity in southeast Kansas, USA. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 4(1):46-59
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
2015 Bass, Neil. Herpetological (Frog and Turtle) Inventories along the Missouri River in Kansas. Collinsorum 4(1):5-9
2015 Rohweder, Megan R. Kansas Wildlife Action Plan. Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in cooperation with the Kansas Biological Survey. 176pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
Account Last Updated:
8/2/2020 10:42:23 PM