Spea multiplicata (Cope 1863)
spē-ŭh — mŭl-tə-plə-cā-tŭh

Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: SNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure

An adult from Cimmaron County, Oklahoma. © Travis W. Taggart.
An adult specimen from Union County, New Mexico. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A tadpole of Spea multiplicata. Image © Altig et al. (2006).

Mexican Spadefoots grow to approximately 2.5 inches in SVL. They may be gray, brown, tan, or greenish with with dark spots or small blotches on their back and upper surfaces of their legs. Occasionally, faint light stripes occur on the back and sides. There are red-tipped tubercles scattered over the back, head, and upper surfaces of the legs. It has large eyes and a short spade-shaped tubercle on the bottom of each hind foot. 
Mexican Spadefoots can be differentiated from the Plains Spadefoot by the lack a bony boss (hard raised hump) between their eyes. It has been reported that Mexican Spadefoots smell like peanuts when handled, whereas Plains Spadefoots do not.
Tadpoles are light gray to olive or brownish-olive in color dorsally. The tadpole's head is broad and flat, and the eyes are situated toward the top. They typically metamorphose before reaching 1.5 inches. but some may reach 3 inches as tadpoles. Tadpoles that are carnivorous (generally feeding on fairy shrimp) develop large jaw muscles, an exceptionally broad head, and a short gut.

This frog is known to occur just south of the Kansas border in Oklahoma, from the Salt Fork Arkansas River in Barber County west through Morton County. It has also been recorded from the Arkansas River Basin in Baca County, Colorado, 25 miles west of the Kansas border.
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
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    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):

Natural History:

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: ; Range: ; Interquartile range: ;

Observation Type: (of recorded types)
This species should be sought along the southern Kansas border west of Barber County. In Oklahoma and Colorado it is only typically found while chorusing during June, July, and August in low sandy prairie type habitats.

1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1974 Karns, Daryl, Ray E. Ashton, Jr., and Thomas Swearingen. Illustrated Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: An Identification Manual. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History Public Education Series(2):viii + 18
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
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.
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
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.
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.
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.
Account Last Updated:
5/13/2020 9:03:34 AM