Anaxyrus woodhousii
(Girard 1854)

ăn-ăx-ī-rŭs — wood-hous-ē-ī

An adult Woodhouse's Toad from Hamilton County, Kansas. Image © Travis W. Taggart.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A tadpole of Bufo woodhousii. Image © Altig et al. (2006).

The Woodhouse's Toad is a large toad. Its parotoid glands are narrow and spread apart by more than one (parotoid) length. Cranial crests run lengthwise from the front of the eyes to back edge of the eyes, then turn sharply towards the side of the toad and extend to the outside edges of the eyes. It is olive green dorsally, with dark splotches and a pale stripe down the center of back. The warts are dark and small and the blotches typically contain two or more warts. The underside is cream to white colored and unmarked, while the throat is slightly darker in color. Males that have called have throats that are much darker than the rest of the belly.
Adults normally 64-100 mm (2½-4 inches) in SVL; largest Kansas specimen: female (KU 158018) from Douglas County with SVL of 120 mm (4¾ inches) collected by Ken Davidson on 9 July 1975; maximum length throughout range: 5 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Common throughout all but extreme southeast Kansas where they are gradually replaced by Fowler's Toads (Bufo fowleri).  
Juveniles may be largely restricted to relatively mesic environments associated with breeding habitats of adults.
Adults are found in a variety of habitats although they are uncommon in nonriparian woodlands. They can be common in disturbed habitats such as irrigated fields, golf courses, and urban parks with ponds.

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 2,291 Total Records 
  • 1,608 Museum Vouchers 
  • 683 Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (11); Atchison (1); Barber (108); Barton (15); Brown (2); Butler (11); Chase (14); Cheyenne (36); Clark (8); Clay (3); Cloud (6); Coffey (2); Comanche (59); Cowley (99); Dickinson (6); Doniphan (10); Douglas (115); Edwards (6); Elk (1); Ellis (240); Ellsworth (3); Finney (87); Ford (2); Franklin (1); Geary (8); Gove (19); Graham (101); Grant (8); Gray (25); Greeley (1); Greenwood (4); Hamilton (25); Harper (15); Harvey (11); Haskell (1); Hodgeman (3); Jackson (22); Jefferson (7); Jewell (7); Johnson (1); Kearney (10); Kingman (10); Kiowa (4); Lane (20); Leavenworth (6); Lincoln (4); Linn (2); Logan (30); Lyon (3); Marion (54); Marshall (52); McPherson (32); Meade (64); Miami (1); Mitchell (9); Montgomery (4); Morris (1); Morton (164); Nemaha (5); Ness (70); Norton (16); Osage (8); Osborne (9); Ottawa (1); Pawnee (18); Phillips (23); Pottawatomie (74); Pratt (14); Rawlins (9); Reno (31); Republic (2); Rice (14); Riley (41); Rooks (14); Rush (22); Russell (51); Saline (6); Scott (19); Sedgwick (30); Seward (4); Shawnee (6); Sheridan (27); Sherman (1); Smith (3); Stafford (36); Stanton (3); Stevens (4); Sumner (8); Thomas (2); Trego (66); Unknown (4); Wabaunsee (19); Wallace (35); Washington (11); Wichita (3); Woodson (1); Wyandotte (7);

Natural History:
Standing water is preferred for breeding— pools along intermittent drainages, artificial ponds and reservoirs, rain-filled depressions, and cattle tanks in open grassland are utilized, from late-March through June.
A single female may lay up to 28,000 small (3-4 mm) eggs in long gelatinous strands attached to vegetation in shallow water. The tadpoles are generally black, although the venter of the tail is pale. Larvae are often observed in large aggregations in stream and pond habitats, typically in standing water, resting on the muddy substrate.
Like most toads, they remain hidden/buried during the day and are most active on humid nights. They can often be found around buildings foraging under lights that attract insects. Hartman (1906) examined the stomach contents of three young specimens from Graham County, that found ants and small beetles.
They frequent a great variety of habitats but seem to be most abundant in sandy areas. The call is a low-pitched nasal waaaaah that can be heard following rains from March through June.

Occurrence Activity:
The blue dates denote chorusing actity. The red ates 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 dots illustrate the actual Julian date (day of the year; 1 January = 1 to 31 December = 365) observations were 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: 553; Range: 25 Mar to 01 Sep; Interquartile range: 06 May to 23 Jun;

The Woodhouse's Toad was first reported in Kansas by Cragin, (1880). The earliest existing specimen is from 1904 (KU 6386).
Maximum longevity: 13 years, 3 months, and 12 days (Snider and Bowler, 1992).

1854 Girard, Charles. A list of the North American Bufonids, with diagnoses of new species. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 7():86-88
1880 Cragin, Francis W. A preliminary catalogue of Kansas reptiles and batrachians Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 7():114-123
1906 Dickerson, Mary C. The Frog Book; North American Toads and Frogs, with Study of the Habits and Life Histories of Those of the Northeastern States. Doubleday, Page & Company, New York, New York. 253pp.
1906 Hartman, Frank A. Food habits of Kansas lizards and batrachians. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 20():225-229
1925 Linsdale, Jean M. Land Vertebrates of a Limited Area in Eastern Kansas. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 312pp.
1925 Storer, Tracy I. A synopsis of the amphibia of California. University of California Publications in Zoology (27):1-342
1927 Linsdale, Jean M. Amphibians and reptiles of Doniphan County, Kansas. Copeia 1927(164):75-81
1929 Burt, Charles E. and May Danheim Burt. A collection of amphibians and reptiles from the Mississippi valley, with field observations. American Museum Novitates (381):1-14
1929 Taylor, Edward H. List of reptiles and batrachians of Morton County, Kansas, reporting species new to the state fauna. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 19(6):63-65
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
1933 Stejneger, Leonhard and Thomas Barbour. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge,Massachusetts. pp.
1934 Brennan, Lawrence A. A check list of the amphibians and reptiles of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():189-191
1935 Brennan, Lawrence A. Notes on the Distribution of Amphibia and Reptilia of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 114pp.
1936 Hibbard, Claude W. and A. Byron Leonard. The occurrence of Bufo punctatus in Kansas . Copeia 1936(2):114
1937 Brennan, Lawrence A. A study of the habitat of reptiles and amphibians of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 40():341-347
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
1944 Marr, John C. Notes on amphibians and reptiles from the central United States. American Midland Naturalist 32(2):478-490
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1962 Gish, Charles D. The Herpetofauna of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 34pp.
1962 Meachen, W. R. Factors affecting secondary intergradation between two allopatric populations in the Bufo woodhousei complex. American Midland Naturalist 67():282-304
1975 Rundquist, Eric M. First KHS field trip yields three county records. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (7):1-3
1976 Caldwell, Janalee P. and Gregory. Glass. Vertebrates of the Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Pages 62-76 in Preliminary inventory of the biota of Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Report No. 5. State Biological Survey of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Knight, James L. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians and reptiles of Cheyenne County, Kansas, Report Number 15. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 19pp.
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1980 Clarke, Robert F. Herptiles and fishes of the western Arkansas River in Kansas. United States Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 55pp.
1982 Fitch, Henry S. Resources of a snake community in prairie-woodland habitat of northeastern Kansas. Pages 83-97 in Herpetological communities: A symposium of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles and the Herpetologists League, August 1977.  Wildlife Research Reports 12. 239 pp. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D. C. pp.
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 Fitch, Henry S. Reptiles and amphibians of the Kansas ecological reserves. Pages 71-74 in Multidisciplinary Guidebook 4. Kansas Academy of Science, Lawrence. pp.
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS annual field trip to Sheridan County State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (90):3
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1996 Green, David M. The bounds of species: hybridization in the Bufo americanus group of North American toads Israel Journal of Zoology 42():95-109
1996 Sullivan, B.K., K.B. Malmos, and M.F. Given Systematics of the Bufo woodhousii complex (Anura: Bufonidae): advertisement call variation Copeia 1996(2):274-280
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
2000 Taggart, Travis W. KHS spring field trip sets record for attendance. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (120):5-5
2000 Van Doren, Mark D. and Curtis J. Schmidt. A herpetological survey of the Fort Larned National Historic Site, Pawnee County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (120):8-11
2001 Kretzer, Justin E. and Jack F. Cully, Jr. Effects of Blacktailed Prairie Dogs on reptiles and amphibians in Kansas shortgrass prairie. Southwestern Naturalist 46(2):171-177
2001 Schmidt, Curtis J. The amphibians, turtles, and reptiles of the Smoky Valley Ranch, Logan County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):9-11
2001 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS spring field trip west. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):10
2002 Masta, Susan E., Brian K. Sullivan, Trip Lamb, and Eric J. Routman Molecular systematics, hybridization, and phylogeography of the Bufo americanus complex in eastern North America. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 24():302-314
2002 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2002 fall field Trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):11-13
2002 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the spring 2002 KHS field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (3):6-7
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2003 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (5):3-4
2003 Washburne, J. and M. Washburne. Geographic distribution: Bufo woodhousii. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):8
2004 Delisle, Jennifer M. and William H. Busby Biological inventory for vertebrates at Fort Larned National Historic Site of the southern plains network. Natural Heritage Inventory, Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 61pp.
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Geographic distribution. Bufo woodhousii. Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (10):10
2004 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2004 fall feld trip . Journal of Kansas Herpetology (12):15-16
2005 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2005 fall field trip [to Crawford County]. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (16):19-21
2005 Taggart, Travis W., Curtis J. Schmidt, and Richard S. Hayes. Geographic distribution: Bufo woodhousii. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (13):10
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 Frost, D., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. Bain, A. Haas, C. Haddad, R. De Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. Donnellan, C. Raxworthy, J. Campbell, B. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. Nussbaum, J. Lynch, D. Green & W. Wheeler The amphibian tree of life Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (297):370
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Addendum report to biological inventory of the sandsage prairie near Holcomb, Kansas. Sunflower Electric Cooperative, Hays, Kansas. 31pp.
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.
2007 Taggart, Travis W. A biological inventory of the Sunflower Electric Site near Holcomb, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology 23():11-16
2007 Taggart, Travis W., Joseph T. Collins, and Curtis J. Schmidt. Estimates of amphibian, reptile, and turtle mortality if Phostoxin is applied to 10,000 acres of prairie dog burrows in Logan County, Kansas. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. 5pp.
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2010 Miller, Larry L. 2010 Investigation of the Checkered Garter Snake in Kansas with notes on other Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles encountered. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 31pp.
2011 Fontenot, Brian E., Robert Makowsky, Paul T. Chippindale. Nuclear-mitochondrial discordance and gene flow in a recent radiation of toads. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59():66-80
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2015 Brown, Kasandra A. Occupancy Modeling Of Herpetofauna And Grassland Nesting Birds At Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 72pp.
2016 Pittman, Galen L., Henry S. Fitch, and W. Dean Kettle Vertebrate animals on the Fitch Natural History Reservation (1948-2002) Kansas Biological Survey Report Number 188, Lawrence. 48pp.
2017 Snyder, Ariel Survey Of Anuran Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in Kansas and the Influence of Anuran Life History in Occurrence. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 53pp.
Account Last Updated:
7/29/2019 1:55:56 PM

Travis W. Taggart © 2020 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University