Anaxyrus fowleri (Hinckley 1882)
ăn-ăx-ī'-rŭs — fŏw-lĕr'-ī

Conservation Status:

State: None

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

An adult Fowler's Toad from Allen County. © dylan2000 (iNat #33927709).
An adult from Cherokee County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
An adult from Cherokee County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A tadpole of Bufo fowleri. Image © Altig et al. (2006).

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 SVL; largest Kansas specimen: female (FHSM 11768) from Cherokee County with SVL of 62 mm (2 1/16 inches) collected by Travis W. Taggart and Richard Hayes on 19 July 2005; maximum length throughout the range: 3¾ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

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.
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)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 56
  • 52
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 4
    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 (27); Douglas (2); Wyandotte (2);

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)
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.

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
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1962 Meacham Factors affecting secondary intergradation between two allopatric populations in the Bufo woodhousii complex American Midland Naturalist 67(2):282-304
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
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):
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.
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
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 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
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
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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:
8/2/2020 3:54:43 PM