AMERICAN TOAD
Anaxyrus americanus (Holbrook 1836)
ăn-ăx-ī'-rŭs — ă-mĕr-ĭ-cā'-nŭs


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S5 - Secure
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

Chorusing adult American Toad from Montgomery Co. Image © Travis W. Taggart.
An adult American Toad from Cherokee County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins.
An adult American Toad. Image © Suzanne L. Collins.
American Toad egg strings, Chautauqua County. Image © Travis W. Taggart.

Description:
Grows to over 4.5 inches long except in the Ozark Plateau, lower Neosho River valley, and southern cross timbers, where it seldom reaches four inches in length. The most common toad throughout most of eastern Kansas, but easily confused with the Woodhouse's Toad, with which it may occasionally hybridize. It can be distinguished from the Woodhouse's Toad (and Fowler's Toad) by having one (seldom more) warts per spot on the dorsal head, body, and legs and a profusely spotted belly (except in specimens from the extreme southern border [which are diminutive and reddish in color]). The spots are not paired.
Adults normally grow 50-90 mm (2-3½ inches) in SVL. largest Kansas specimen: sex undetermined (KU 211394) from Neosho County with SVL of 102 mm (4 inches) collected by Travis W. Taggart and R. Bruce Taggart on 14 September 1988; maximum length throughout range: 4 3/8 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
Found throughout much of the eastern third of the state, generally east of the Flint Hills.
A specimen from Trego County (FHSM 5857) has been examined and is characteristic of this taxon. It is not mapped as it undoubtedly represents an introduction, possibly from hatchery activities at Cedar Bluff.
Range-wide this species is found from Manitoba south to northeast Texas, east through northwest South Carolina, and north to Labrador and southwest Newfoundland. A small spur is found along the east side of the Mississippi River into southeastern Louisiana. It appears to be absent from southeast Illinois and southwest Indiana.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 1,422
    Records 
  • 879
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 543
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (12); Anderson (12); Atchison (2); Bourbon (27); Brown (2); Butler (1); Chase (1); Chautauqua (40); Cherokee (346); Coffey (111); Cowley (8); Crawford (55); Doniphan (13); Douglas (223); Elk (9); Franklin (18); Greenwood (103); Jackson (1); Jefferson (8); Johnson (22); Labette (46); Leavenworth (27); Linn (29); Lyon (5); Marion (2); Miami (20); Montgomery (74); Nemaha (1); Neosho (35); Osage (68); Pottawatomie (1); Riley (2); Shawnee (1); Trego (1); Wabaunsee (20); Wilson (44); Woodson (8); Wyandotte (15);

Natural History:
They are active at night during humid weather and remain hidden under rocks, logs, thatch, or shallow burrows during the day. During March and April rains, American Toads breed in semipermanent ponds, ditches, and even tire ruts. The call is a long musical trill lasting 5 to 50 seconds. Eggs are laid in long strings. Outside of the breeding season, they can be found all over the eastern third of Kansas from forests to backyard gardens. 
They seek cover by day and search for prey at night. They can often be found congregating around lights in rural and residential areas to pick off insects as they land (Hartman 1906). He examined the contents of eleven toads from Wyandotte County and found they had consumed the following insects: Cincindelidae, ground-beetles, crickets, snapping-beetles, leaf-hoppers, ants, Belostoma, Lachnosterna, grasshoppers, tumblebugs, Lampyridae, and carrion beetles. One specimen contained sixty beetles, three leaf-hoppers, and three ants.


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.
Chorusing:

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: 484; Range: 13 Mar to 07 Jul; Interquartile range: 10 Apr to 27 May;

Observation Type: (of recorded types)
Remarks:
First reported in Kansas by Hallowell (1856). The earliest existing specimen is from 1904 (KU6343).
Smith (1950) first pointed out the occurrence of the odd looking American Toads in Cherokee County. While not describing them as new, he noted that they possibly represented a unique form. With Smith's comments as an impetus, Bragg (1954) described the populations from eastern Oklahoma and SE Kansas as a distinct subspecies but noted that he could find no evidence of hybridization between this diminutive race and that of the nominate Bufo americanus. Collins (1982) mentioned the possible existence of this form in SE Kansas but declined to recognize it in the absence of more recent specimens. Collins did comment that should the form be found in Kansas, that it probably represented a distinct species. Masta et al. (2002) demonstrated that charlesmithi was a distinct clade and may merit specific recognition.
Where it occurs, this diminutive form is by no means rare. However, future studies are necessary to determine the limits of its distribution in Kansas.
Fossils - Miocene (Hemphillian NALMA) of Long Island, Kansas (Sanchiz, 1998) [Holman, 2003 states that this specimen likely represents an unidentified extinct taxon]. 

Bibliography:
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
1857 Hallowell, Edward. Notice of a collection of reptiles from Kansas and Nebraska presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences, by Doctor Hammond, U. S. A. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 8():238-253
1882 Yarrow, Henry C. Check list of North American Reptilia and Batrachia with catalogue of specimens in U. S. National Museum. Bulletin of the United States National Museum (24):1-249
1889 Cope, Edward D The batrachia of North America. Bulletin of the United States National Museum (34):1-525
1906 Hartman, Frank A. Food habits of Kansas lizards and batrachians. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 20():225-229
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
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
1932 Mansfield, Robert R. A Comparative study of the Helminthes of the Anura from five given localities. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 35pp.
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
1934 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 15(4):377-527
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1953 Sanders, Ottys. A new species of toad, with a discussion of morphology of the bufonid skull. Herpetologica 9(1):25-47
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1954 Bragg, Arthur N. Bufo terrestris charlesmithi, a new subspecies from Oklahoma Wasmann Journal of Biology 12(2):245
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1958 Blair, W. Frank. Mating call in the speciation of anuran amphibians. The American Naturalist 92(862):27-51
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1975 Perry, Janice. A trip to southeastern Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (7):4
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.
1976 Grow, David. The KHS goes to Chetopa. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (13):2-3
1976 Miller, Larry L. KHS visits Elk County. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (15):1-2
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Perry, Janice. KHS members achieve goal: Get Cottonmouth. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (21):3-4
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. The Spring Peeper, Hyla crucifer Wied (Anura, Hylidae) in Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 80(3 & 4):155-8
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.
1978 Perry, Janice. KHS successful at Miami County State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (27):5
1978 Skie, Shelley and Martha Bickford. KHS takes to the field in July at Winfield. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (26):42798
1979 Gray, Peter. Low attendance slows KHS. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (32):1
1979 Guarisco, Hank. Preliminary laboratory observatoins of predation by native Texas Garter Snakes upon hatchling Five-lined Skinks. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (32):7-8
1980 Glass, G. E., and N .A. Slade The effect of Sigmodon hispidus on spatial and temporal activity of Microtus ochrogaster: Evidence for competition Ecology 61():358-370
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.
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.
1983 Collins, Joseph T. New records of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in Kansas for 1982 . Technical Publication of the State Biological Survey of Kansas 13():9-21
1987 Coleman, Keith. Annual KHS Field Trip held at Atchison State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (68):5-6
1988 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1987. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):13-19
1989 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1989. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (78):16-21
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
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. Results of third Kansas herp count held during April-May 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (85):9-13
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 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 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1991. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (87):12-17
1992 Collins, Joseph T. Results of the fourth Kansas herp count held during April-May 1992. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (89):10-
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1992 Taggart, Travis W. Observations on Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (88):13-15
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the fifth Kansas herp count held during April-June 1993 . Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (94):7-11
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1994 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1993. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):15-19
1994 Fitzgerald, Eve and Charles Nilon Classification of habitats for endangered and threatened species in Wyandotte County, Kansas Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 98pp.
1994 Riedle, J. Daren. A survey of reptiles and amphibians at Montgomery County State Fishing Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (98):11-13
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
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Additional KHS herp counts for 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (102):11-
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the seventh annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (101):11-17
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1996 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the eighth annual KHS herp counts Held 1 April-31 May 1996. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (104):6-17
1997 Collins, Joseph T. A report on the KHS fall field trip to the Marais des Cygnes wildlife refuges. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (110):2-3
1997 Rundquist, Eric M. Addendum to 1997 KHS herp counts. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (109):14-15
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.
1998 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1998 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the tenth annual KHS herp counts for 1998, held 1 April-31 May. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (112):11-18
1998 Sanchiz, B. Handbuch der Palaoherpetologie. Part 4: Salientia. Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, Munchen. 275pp.
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
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
2000 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2000 fall field trip. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (122):6-8
2001 Ellis, Mark R. Reproduction in the Common Garter Snake in Shawnee County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (125):12
2001 Fitch, Henry S. Further study of the garter snake, Thamnophis sirtalis, in northeastern Kansas. Scientific Papers of the Natural History Museum University of Kansas (19):1-6
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
2001 Taggart, Travis W. The KHS 2001 spring field trip: A rainy rendezvous. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):12-14
2002 Gubanyi, James E.. Osage County herp count I. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
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.
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 Miller, Larry L. Osage County herp count II. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2002 Miller, Larry L. Shawnee County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2003 Burr, Andrew. Coffey County herp count 1. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):7
2003 Gubanyi, James E. Osage County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):8
2003 Gubanyi, James E. Shawnee County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):9
2003 Holman, J. Alan Fossil Frogs and Toads of North America. Indiana University Press, Bloomington. 246pp.
2003 Suleiman, G. Fort Riley herpetofaunal count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (5):11-12
2003 Taggart, Travis W. KHS conducts first systematic road survey. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):11-12
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2003 KHS spring field trip to Wilson County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (6):2-5
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2003 fall field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (8):14-15
2003 Volkmann, Al. Cowley County herp count 1. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (7):7
2004 Gubanyi, James E. Osage County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):11
2004 Gubanyi, James E. Wilson County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (11):12
2005 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2005 fall field trip [to Crawford County]. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (16):19-21
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 Frost, Darrel R, Taran Grant, Julian Faivovich, Raoul H. Bain, Alexander Haas, Celio F. B. Haddad, Rafael O. De Sa, Alan Channing, Mark Wilkinson, Stephen C. Donnellan, Christopher J. Raxworthy, Jonathan A. Campbell, Boris L. Blotto, Paul Moler, Robert C. Drewes, Ronald A. Nussbaum, John D. Lynch, David M. Green, and Ward C. Wheeler. The amphibian tree of life Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (297):370
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.
2009 Murrow, Daniel G. KHS 2009 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (29):42769
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2010 Murrow, Daniel G. Kansas Herpetological Society spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (33):2-3
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
2011 McMartin, D. Chris. Herp Count: Fort Leavenworth Herpetofaunal Survey for 2011. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (39):8-9
2011 McMartin, David C. U. S. Army 2011 Fort Leavenworth Herpetofaunal Survey: 23 April - 09 May 2011. Privately printed, Leavenworth, Kansas. 33pp.
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 spring field trip to beheld in Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (37):5-7
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS Spring Field Trip to Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (38):2-4
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Bass, Neil The Missouri River Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Project: For the river, for you, and for herps. Collinsorum 2(1/2):10-11
2013 Mardis, Dexter and Kevin Scott. 2013 Kansas Herpetofaunal Counts. Collinsorum 2(3/4):7
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2012 Spring Field Trip to Bourbon County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):3
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Summer Field Trip to Coldwater Lake, Comanche County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):5
2014 McMartin, D. Chris. Fort Leavenworth Heretofaunal Survey for 2013. Collinsorum 3(1):10
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2014 KHS Fall Field Trip to Woodson County. Collinsorum 3(2-4):12
2015 Bass, Neil. Herpetological (Frog and Turtle) Inventories along the Missouri River in Kansas. Collinsorum 4(1):5-9
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.
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 Summer field trip to Caney River, Chautauqua County, Kansas. Collinsorum 5(2-3):4-5
2017 Mardis, Dexter R. Results from three Herpetofaunal tallies at Wichita State University’s Youngmeyer Ranch in Northwestern Elk County. Collinsorum 6(1):8-10
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.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the 2017 KHS Spring Field Trip to Elk County, Kansas. Collinsorum 6(2-3):6-8
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
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