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Red-spotted Toad

(Bufo punctatus)


Identification: Upper side gray or brown with orange or red warts; head and body flattened from top to bottom; circular or somewhat oval gland on each side of neck; no conspicuous ridges next to eyes; head and body up to about 7.6 cm (3 inches) long (usually about 4-6 cm (1.6—2.7 inches).  

Mature male: Throat dark during breeding season; expanded vocal sac evenly rounded. Juveniles of Woodhouse’s toad have red spots and sometimes are mistaken for this species.  

Breeding call : A high, ringing trill lasting about 3–12 seconds, sometimes varying in pitch, emitted up to several times per minute.

Larvae: Head-body more or less oval; upper side blackish; belly dark with much gold spotting; throat unpigmented; eyes high on head; head relatively broad (snout end of body not as pointed as in Woodhouse’s toad larvae when viewed from above); upper fin with much dark pigment, lower fin mainly clear (mature larvae); upper jaw with thin extension on each side; usually 2 rows of tiny teeth on upper lip, 3 rows on lower lip; tooth row farthest from jaw on lower lip nearly as long as tooth row closest to jaw on lower lip; usually less than 40 mm (1.6 inches) long, often 30–32 mm (1.2-1.3 inches).    

Eggs: Deposited individually or in small clusters of a few eggs, often scattered over pool bottoms.  

Colorado Distribution: Southeastern Colorado and southwestern Colorado (north to the vicinity of Grand Junction. Often common in restricted habitat.    

View the distribution of observed Red-Spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus) on a map

Habitat: Generally associated with rocky canyons and stream courses. Hides under rocks or in burrows.   

Life History: Breeds in pools along intermittent streams in late spring and summer. Larvae metamorphose into small toads primarily from July through September, sometimes October. Rapid drying of pools often kills the larvae before they complete development.

Revised: July 24, 2003