An adult from Cherokee County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
An adult Fowler's Toad from Allen County. © dylan2000 (iNat #33927709).
An adult from Cherokee County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
AMPHIBIA (Amphibians) ANURA (Frogs) BUFONIDAE (True Toads)

Fowler's Toad
Anaxyrus fowleri (Hinckley 1882)
ăn-ăk-sĕr'-ōs — fŏw-lĕr'-ī


Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S5 - Secure
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None
Diagnosis:
The Fowler's Toad is tan to gray colored with several smallish dark brown paired spots on the back. The dark dorsal spots are usually paired (across the mid-dorsal line), especially anteriorly. There is typically an elongated spot above each eye. Most spots will contain 2 or more warts. In some specimens, the spots may appear green or reddish. It has a light-colored mid-dorsal stripe. While this species usually displays an immaculate belly, many specimens have a single dark spot on the chest.
Adults normally 50-75 mm (2-3 inches) in snout-vent length. The largest Kansas specimen is a female (FHSM 11768) from Cherokee County with a snout-vent length of 62 mm (2­1⁄16 inches) collected by Travis W. Taggart and Richard Hayes on 19 July 2005. The maximum length throughout the range is 95mm (3¾ inches) (Powell et al. 2016).

Distribution:
Specimens are known from Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, and Crawford counties in southeast Kansas. Potential specimens have been anecdotally reported south and east of Douglas County. Further work is necessary to better define the western and northern limits of its range in the state. Toads are often overlooked by herpetologists and this species is probably more widespread than currently understood.
Anderson (1942) reported finding Fowler's Toads throughout Jackson County (adjacent to Johnson County, Kansas) and that they were most common on the sandy Missouri River bottoms.
The distribution of the Fowler's Toad in Kansas overlaps a portion of the range of the American Toad and approaches the range of the Woodhouse's Toad.

(,   Museum Voucher) (,   Observation) (,   Literature Record) (,   iNat Record), (  Fossil)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details.
Full range depicted by light shaded red area. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 89
    Records 
  • 86
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 3
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (1); Bourbon (2); Chautauqua (7); Cherokee (15); Crawford (54); Douglas (2); Ellis (2); Johnson (3); Wyandotte (3);

Fossil History:
Unknown from Kansas 

Natural History:
Not known from Kansas.

Occurrence Activity:
Number of Unique Obervations (=days): 20; Range: 30 Mar to 17 Oct
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.
Number of Unique Obervations: ; Range: ; Interquartile range: ;

Remarks:
While long suspected to occur in Kansas (Smith, 1950, 1956; Collins, 1992; Johnson, 2000), only recently have specimens been discovered that are definitely assignable to this taxon, (Taggart, 2006). The earliest existing specimens (BYU 8417-8; 9967) are from 1947.
Rundquist and Collins (1977) considered Anaxyrus woodhousii to be '... abundant in the Cherokee Plain portions of the county and less so in the Ozark Plateau...' and '... we can make no clear distinction as to subspecies [B. w. woodhousei [sic.] vs. B. w. fowleri] with the specimens at hand.'
The status of Bufo fowleri as distinct from Bufo woodhousii was formerly controversial(see Green (1996) and Sullivan et al. (1996) for discussion of the issue, and Meacham (1962), for a presentation of the evidence and delimitation of the taxon).
Most recently Masta et al. (2002), using molecular evidence, suggested that Bufo fowleri is most closely related to (and molecularly paraphyletic to) Bufo terrestris, not the closest relative of Bufo woodhousii, and together with Bufo terrestris forming the sister taxon of Bufo americanus plus Bufo woodhousii. According to these authors, Bufo fowleri is composed of three distinctive clades, which require additional study as to their specific status.
Bufo fowleri is known to hybridize with Bufo woodhousii and Bufo americanus in other parts of its range, in which case the offspring may show characteristics of only one or both parent species. There is no evidence of hybridization in Kansas.

Bibliography:
1882 Hinckley, Mary H. On some differences in the mouth structure of tadpoles of the anourous batrachians found in Milton, Mass. Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History 21():307-314
Contains the original description of Anaxyrus fowleri.
1934 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 15(4):377-527
The formal publication of Hobart Smith's Master's Thesis (Smith 1933), though there are several updated and additions. In addition to the species accounts for all twenty-five species, the paper includes a history of amphibian biology in Kansas and discussions on taxonomy and physiography. 
1938 Schmidt, Karl P. Herpetological evidence for the postglacial eastward extension of the steppe in North America. Ecology 19(3):396-407
1938 Burt, Charles E. The frogs and toads of the southeastern United States. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 41():331-367
Page 338 states that he considers A. fowleri and A. woodhousii to be synonymous based on material examined from the "Middle West" including Kansas.
1942 Anderson, Paul. Amphibians and reptiles of Jackson County, Missouri. Bulletin of the Chicago Academy of Sciences 6(11):203-222
1947 Hall, Henry H. and Hobart M. Smith. Selected records of reptiles and amphibians from southeastern Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 49(4):447-454
Report on certain Kansas specimens housed in the collection at what is now Pittsburg State University. Included are several species of dubious status today, including Cryptobranchus alleganiensis from the Neosho and Spring rivers (the only specimens from those significant drainages ever documented), Ambystoma maculatum from just north of Pittsburg, Crawford County, Heterodon nasicus from Crawford County, Opheodrys vernalis from Crawford County, Sonora episcopa from Crawford County, Agkistrodon piscivorus from Cherokee County, Crotalus atrox from Crawford County, and Crotalus viridis from Crawford County. They report several significant range extensions including Kinosternon flavescens from Turkey Creek in southeast Cherokee County, Graptemys geographica from just north of Pittsburg, Crotaphytus collaris from near Columbus, Cherokee County, Sceloporus consobrinus from just north of Pittsburg, Phrynosoma cornutum from Cherokee and Crawford counties, Heterodon platirhinos from Cherokee and Crawford counties, Haldea striatula from Crawford County, Sistrurus tergeminus from Crawford County, and a 402 lb Macrochelys temminckii in Cherokee County from just east of Chetopa (Labette County). They allude to the potential for Anaxyrus fowleri to occur in southeast Kansas and for native populations of Crotalus atrox in south central Kansas (in part from the disclosure that John R. Breukelman [then of ESU] had obtained three specimens in Woods County Oklahoma, 3/4 of a mile south of the Kansas line). None of the specimens the paper was based on, exist today.
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
The first modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table and text say 97 on p. 10) and 13 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies.
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
Schmidt's first edition of his standardized checklist to North American amphibians and reptiles. Includes several specific references to Kansas in the range descriptions.
1955 Volpe, E. Peter. Intensity of reproductive isolation between sympatric and allopatric populations of Bufo americanus and Bufo fowleri. The American Naturalist 89():303-317
1956 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. Second edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication (9):1-356
Hobart M. Smith's updated second edition of his first (1950) modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table says 97 on p. 10; text says 98 on p. 10) and 11 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies. The second edition has updated taxonomy, added Plestiodon laticeps, and removed Eurycea tynerensis.
1962 Meacham. Factors affecting secondary intergradation between two allopatric populations in the Bufo woodhousii complex American Midland Naturalist 67(2):282-304
1967 Gier, Herschel T. Vertebrates of the Flint Hills. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 70(1):51-59
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
Joseph T. Collins first Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Smith 1956)>
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
Joseph T. Collins second Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1974)>
1984 Secor, Stephen M. and Charles C. Carpenter. Distribution maps of Oklahoma reptiles. Oklahoma Herpetological Society Special Publication (3):1-57
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.
Joseph T. Collins third Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1982)>
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, Brian K., K. B. Malmos, and M. F. Given. Systematics of the Bufo woodhousii complex (Anura: Bufonidae): advertisement call variation Copeia 1996(2):274-280
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 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. A Key to Amphibians & Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 131pp.
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
Reported Anaxyrus woodhousii was likely A. fowleri.
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
2004 Pauly, Gregory B., David M. Hillis, and David C. Cannatella. The history of a Nearctic colonization: Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of the Nearctic toads (Bufo). Evolution 58():2517-2535
2005 Lannoo, Michael (Editor) Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species. University fo California Press, Berkeley. 1115pp.
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 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.
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
2008 Pauly, Gregory B. Phylogenetic systematics, historical biogeography, and the evolution of vocalizations in Nearctic toads (Bufo). Dissertation. University of Texas, Austin. 165pp.
TNHC 62701 (CK Co.) used in analyses.
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
Joseph T. Collins fourth Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1993)>
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 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. Key to the Herpetofauna of the Continental United States and Canada: Second Edition, Revised and Updated. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 152pp.
2013 Dodd, C. Kenneth. Frogs of the United States and Canada. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 982pp.
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
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.
2017 Crother, Brian I. (editor) Scientific and Standard English Names of Amphibians and Reptiles of North America North of Mexico, with Comments Regarding Confidence in Our Understanding. Eighth edition. Herpetological Circulars (43):102
2019 Powell, Robert, Joseph T Collins, and Errol D Hooper Jr. Key to the Herpetofauna of the Continental United States and Canada. Third Edition. Univ Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 192pp.
2020 Daniel, Richard E. and Brian S. Edmond. Atlas of Missouri Amphibians and Reptiles for 2019. Privately printed, Columbia, Missouri. 86pp.
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
2023 Dodd, C. Kenneth. Frogs of the United States and Canada. Second Edition. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 1032pp.
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Travis W. Taggart © 1999-2024 — w/ Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University