Anaxyrus punctatus Baird & Girard 1852
ăn-ăx-ī'-rŭs — pŭnk'-tā-tŭs

Conservation Status:

State: Kansas Species in Need of Conservation (SINC)

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S2 - Imperiled
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure

An adult Red-spotted Toad from Barber County, Kansas. © Travis W. Taggart.
A tadpole of Bufo punctatus. Image © Altig et al. (2006).
Image by Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
An adult female Red-spotted Toad from Clark County, Kansas. © Travis W. Taggart.

This small toad has round parotoid glands, a characteristic that distinguishes it from other toad species in the region. It tends to be whitish when found in association with limestone, light tan to red around volcanic rocks, to brown above, with scattered reddish tubercles (raised bumps); the underside is creamy white. Males have dark throats and single vocal sacs. The body and head are dorsoventrally compressed, giving this toad a flattened appearance.
Adults normally 38-64 mm (1½-2½ inches) in snout-vent length. The largest Kansas specimen is female (KU 337000) from Barber County with a snout-vent length of 62.5 mm (2 7/16 inches) collected by Matthew F. Jones, Nicole D. Dzenowski, and David S. McLeod on 27 May 2014. The maximum length throughout their range is 3 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

The occurrence of this species has been documented in western Barber County and extreme southeastern Comanche County, with an isolated population in northern Clark County. An adult (51mm SVL) specimen from Morton County (KU 9100, 12 mi N Elkhart, ca Walsh's Ranch [= Wood Walsh Ranch]: 25 June 1927: Burt and Parker) was reported by Hill (1931) from the material also reported on by Taylor (1929). The Morton County specimen is supported by extant populations upstream in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, however, it is questionable because 1) it was not reported initially by Taylor (1929) and 2) has not been found in Morton County since. This specimen is in need of corroboration.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 169
  • 143
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 26
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Barber (115); Clark (22); Comanche (31); Morton (1);

Natural History:
They search for prey at night and remain under cover during the day. Red-spotted Toads are slow-moving, more apt to walk or crawl with only occasional short hops. However, they are excellent climbers in the rocky canyons they occupy. The call is a 4 to 10-second musical trill that can be heard along intermittent canyon pools following rains in June and July. The eggs are laid in short strings or singly.

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: 19; Range: 30 May to 21 Jul; Interquartile range: 04 Jun to 22 Jun;

Observation Type: (of recorded types)
The Red-spotted Toad was first reported in Kansas by Hill, (1931) based on the earliest existing specimen collected in 1927 (KU 9100).
The Morton County specimen (KU 9100) was collected in 1927 and all but one of the Clark County specimens were collected in 1936 and 1938 (KU 21079-94). A single specimen was collected by Jim Knight (FHSM 5250) below the dam at Clark County State Lake in 1971; however, that specimen cannot be located. The persistence of the Clark County population was verified by a specimen taken 12 May 2005 under a rock southwest of the state lake, and subsequent personal observations. The Clark County records probably represent a relictual population, as survey efforts to the south and east have produced no specimens in the intervening area through southeastern Comanche County. The Clark County population occurs in the Kiowa Shale/Cheyenne Sandstone formations there and it is interesting that they are absent from the same formation in Kiowa County.
The population that previously existed in Morton County was likely extirpated during the 1930s, however, they do persist in along the Cimarron River drainage in Oklahoma and may eventually make their way back into Kansas along that river.
Miller (1983, 1987) studied this species in western Barber County and contributed several new localities. Of particular importance in his study were his records of chorusing activity in Kansas.
The Barber and Comanche county populations occur over a vast area of relatively contiguous habitat and appear to be secure. In this area, its distribution largely coincides with the surface exposures of the Blaine Formation (Medicine Lodge Gypsum Member). Potential threats include agricultural runoff, gypsum mining, overgrazing, and the encroachment of red cedar.
The Red-spotted Toad was listed as a Kansas SINC species in 1987.

1852 Baird, Spencer F. and Charles Girard. Characteristics of some new reptiles in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Third part. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 6():173
1857 Hallowell, Edward. Note on the collection of reptiles from the neighborhood of San Antonio, Texas, recently presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences by Dr. A. Heerman. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 8():306-310
1931 Hill, J. Eric. An addition to the herpetological fauna of Kansas. Science 74(1926):547-548
1936 Hibbard, Claude W. and A. Byron Leonard. The occurrence of Bufo punctatus in Kansas . Copeia 1936(2):114
1943 Bragg, Arthur N. and Charles Clinton Smith. Observations on the ecology and natural history of anura IV: The ecological distribution of toads in Oklahoma. Ecology 24(3):285-309
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1973 Knight, James L., Eugene D. Fleharty, and Jerry D. Johnson. Noteworthy records of distribution and habits of some Kansas herptiles. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 75(3):273-275
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1974 Perry, Janice. KHS members take trip to southwest Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (3):2-3
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
1980 Miller, Larry L. Observations of the Red-spotted Toad in Barber County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (38):7-9
1981 Guarisco, Hank Amphibians and reptiles in Kansas, 2: The Redspotted Toad (Bufo punctatus). Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (42):13-14
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1983 Miller, Larry L. The status of the Red-spotted Toad in Barber County, Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 15pp.
1987 Miller, Larry L. An investigation of four rare snakes in south-central Kansas. Final Report. Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission, Pratt. 24pp.
1988 Busby, William H. The Kansas Natural Heritage Program: Taking stock of Kansas' natural heritage. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):9-12
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
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Results of second Kansas herp count held during April-May 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):10-12
1990 Lardie, Richard L. Kansas threatened species and protection of the Gypsum Hills habitat. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (80):14-15
1991 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (83):7-13
1991 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cimarron National Grasslands, Morton County, Kansas. U. S. Forest Service, Elkhart, Kansas. 60pp.
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.
1992 Gubanyi, James E. An observation on the stomach contents of a Texas Longnose Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei tessellatus). Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (89):17
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas endangered, threatened, and SINC species. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
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
1997 Rundquist, Eric M. KHS Spring Field Trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (108):3
1997 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the ninth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1997. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (108):12-17
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 Korky, John K. Bufo punctatus. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (689):1-5
2000 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eleventh and twelfth annual KHS herpetofaunal counts for 1999-2000, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):11-16
2001 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the thirteenth annual KHS herp counts for 2001, held 1 April-30 June. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):13-16
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 Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. ():
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.
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Spring Field Trip to Barber County Collinsorum 3(2-4):11
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.
2016 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS ‘Fall’ field trip to Barber County. Collinsorum 5(2-3):6-7
2017 Jones, Matthew F., Nicole D. Dzenowski, and David S. Mcleod. A new state size record for the Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus): Implications for a species in need of conservation in Kansas. Collinsorum 6(1):11-15
2017 Taggart, Travis W. Herp Count: Clark County State Lake. Collinsorum 6(2-3):9
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:
8/27/2020 3:24:22 PM