Wednesday, June 12, 2013

American Toad Vs. Fowler's Toad

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Today's blog is about the two most common toads in our area; Fowler's Toad  Bufo fowleri and the American Toad Bufo americanus, ,you would think that it was easy to tell these toads apart because they have certain distinguishing characteristics.

A Fowler's Toad should have:
-Three or more warts in the largest dark spot
-An almost completely unspotted ventral surface
-No greatly enlarged warts on tibia
-A parotid gland that touches the cranial crest behind the eye

An American Toad should have:
-only one or two warts in each dark spot
-highly spotted ventral surface
-Enlarged warts on tibia
- Parotid gland that's either completely separate from cranial crest or else connected by a spur.

Don’t be surprised if you find a number of specimens that don’t match either of these lists of parameters.  The two species often hybridize and there is also an extreme amount of variability in both species throughout their expansive geographic range.
I have had some photographs that I initially thought was one species or the other, but, on further viewing, I changed my mind.

Other interesting facts about these toads are American Toads are more nocturnal and prefer earthworms while Fowler's Toads feed, any time they are hungry and their preferred food is crickets or other insects.  Fowler's Toads jump more like a frog then hop like the American Toad does. Fowler's toads prefer living in open woodlands, sand prairies, meadows, and beaches. 
American toads require dense patches of vegetation, for cover and hunting grounds. Given these two things and a supply of insects for food, American toads can live almost everywhere, ranging from forests to flat grasslands.

American Toad Identification

Fowler's Toad Identification
American Toad

Fowler's Toad

American Toad