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Frogs in Nevada

Nevada is located in the western part of the United States. It is known for its forests, deserts, and mountain ranges. The state is defined broadly by two ecosystems: the Great Basin and Mojave deserts.

There are twenty (20) species of toads and frogs in Nevada. This includes nine (9) species of frogs and eleven (11) species of toads. Three entirely new toad species have been found in the state recently.

Some characteristics can be seen in both frogs and toads in adulthood. They are both four-legged, with widely spaced eyes for clearer, wider vision and external eardrums (tympana) for sensing vibrations around them.

Their diet consists mainly of insects and other arthropods, but some species are large or opportunistic enough to feed on small vertebrates. They are commonly eaten by birds, larger reptiles, otters, raccoons, small mammals, and fish.

Frogs and toads employ several measures to protect themselves from predation. Most species do this by nocturnal activity, although some are diurnal (more active in the day) or crepuscular (more active at dusk and dawn).

Their coloration also helps. They are cryptically colored, so they blend into their environment. The color of their dorsal skin protects them from terrestrial predators while the color of their ventral skin protects them from aquatic predators.

With their long legs and slender bodies, frogs are able to leap or jump away from their attackers. Toads however have short limbs and stocky bodies so most of their movement is by walking or crawling.

As some sort of compensation, toads have poisonous secretions produced by their warts and parotid glands. A number of frogs are harmful as well, secreting toxins when threatened, but more frog species are not.

For this reason, frogs make better household pets than toads in general. Some frog and toad species make use of alarm calls, which are usually loud shrieks used to startle and/ or annoy predators after being captured or made uncomfortable.

Toads and frogs are quite similar but the skin of a toad is rougher than a frog’s on average. It is usually dry and full of warts. Frogs have smoother, moist skin on average, still covered in warts but less warty than toads’ skins.

Information on the adults of the various species of toads and frogs in Nevada is provided in this article. This includes their geographic range, habitats of preference, morphological features, behaviors, mating calls, and additional anti-predator techniques.

Table of Contents

1. Frogs in Nevada
2. Toads in Nevada
3. FAQ
4. Conclusion

Species of Frogs in Nevada

1. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) sitting on moist dirt behind a rock in Henderson, Nevada, USA
American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) sitting on moist dirt behind a rock in Henderson, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus
  • Other Names: Rana catesbeianus, bullfrog, North American bullfrog 
  • Adult Size: 9 to 15.2 cm (3.5 to 6 in)
  • Lifespan: 7 to 9 years in the wild, up to 16 years in captivity

American bullfrogs are an invasive and non-native species in Nevada. They are large in size, widespread across Canada and the United States, and native to the eastern part of the USA. They endanger several species.

These frogs inhabit different natural and man-made habitats. They are usually found living in or around large permanent bodies of water like swamps, ponds, marshes, lakes, canals, rivers, and streams.

Dorsally, American bullfrogs are colored in dark or bright shades of green or greenish brown. Dark spots are scattered across their limbs. Their backs and sides may be colored in solid hues or full of dark dots and patterns.

Frogs of this species are powerful swimmers. Their feet are large and webbed, their heads wide and flat. The males and females show sexual dimorphism by differences in tympanum size and throat color.

The tympana of males are much larger than their eyes and their throats are yellow. In females, the tympana are either smaller than or the same size as the eyes. Their throats are typically white or cream in color.

Because of their large size, American bullfrogs are able to prey on animals other than insects. They eat smaller species of frogs. They are also cannibalistic, eating smaller conspecifics (frogs of the same species).

They are both diurnal and nocturnal, showing activity both day and night. They are however most active when the weather is moist and warm. Their call is very deep and resonant, likened to a rumbling “jug-o-rum” sound.

2. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on wet ground near Goshute Peak, Nevada, USA
Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) on wet ground near Goshute Peak, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates pipiens 
  • Other Names: Rana pipiens, grass frog, meadow frog
  • Adult Size: 5 to 11.5 cm (1.97 to 4.5 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 9 years in the wild

The northern leopard frog is native to parts of Canada and the United States. It is another widely spread species, also found in Minnesota, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.

Frogs of this species like to live around permanent bodies of slow-moving water with aquatic vegetation. They live in marshlands, brushlands, and forests, preferring open spaces. They move far from water outside the breeding.

Dorsally, northern leopard frogs are colored green, greenish-brown, or yellow-green. Their smooth skin is usually covered in large oval spots, with each spot bordered by a halo of a lighter hue. This spotting resembles that on a leopard’s skin.

Underneath them, they are usually colored white or cream. There are two distinct ridges running along each side of this frog’s back. Males are mostly smaller in size than females, with large thumb pads and dual vocal sacs.

They migrate to ponds during spring to breed and then leave for grasslands or meadows in the summer. They are more active at night (nocturnal) when breeding and more active in the day (diurnal) when foraging.

The call of a northern leopard frog is a short sound that resembles snoring. This frog eats smaller frogs like the American bullfrog. It escapes its predators by leaping away quickly and blending into the vegetation surrounding it.

The frog avoids its predators by taking advantage of its similarity to the poisonous pickerel frog. This is called mimicry as the species live around the pickerel frog in order to avoid being eaten by predators who may mistake them.

3. Lowland Leopard Frog

Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) on a rock in Tucson, Arizona, USA
Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) on a rock in Tucson, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates yavapaiensis
  • Other Names: Rana yavapaiensis, San Felipe leopard frog, Yavapai leopard frog
  • Adult Size: 4.6 to 8.6 cm (1.8 to 3.4 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 3 years

Another species of frog in Nevada is the lowland leopard frog. It is native to Mexico and the United States. Habitats include temperate forests, freshwater marshes, freshwater lakes, rivers, and intermittent rivers.

Dorsally, these frogs are tan, brown, or bright green in color. Large black or dark spots are scattered across their backs. Ventrally, they are yellowish in color on their abdomen, towards their groin, and underneath their legs.

In front of the eyes, there are no spots on this frog. The females grow to a longer length and bigger size than their male conspecifics. Lowland leopard frogs breed throughout the year.

Although they are secure in the state of Arizona, frogs of this species are presumed to be extinct in California and they are listed as a critically endangered species in New Mexico and parts of Nevada.

Lowland leopard frogs are mostly nocturnal. Their calls are short and quiet chuckles that sound like quick, short kisses. They stay completely still to avoid being detected by predators and jump into water or vegetation when frightened.

4. Red-Legged Frog

Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora) on someone's hand in Humboldt County, California, USA
Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora) on someone’s hand in Humboldt County, California, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Rana aurora
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 5 to 13 cm (2 to 5.25 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 15 years in captivity

Red-legged frogs are native to California. There are also individuals in British Columbia, Canada, Oregon, and Nevada. There are two subspecies of this type of frog and both are found in the state of Nevada.

These subspecies are Rana aurora aurora (Northern red-legged frog) and Rana aurora draytonii (California red-legged frog).

Red-legged frogs occur around the banks of still or slow-moving ponds and streams. They prefer habitats that have vegetation to provide them with cover from predation, the heat of the sun, and the cold of winter.

The dorsal coloration of this species is usually reddish brown or gray, with several undefined splotches on their backs in a darker color. They have a light stripe on their jaw and folds on their back and sides.

The ventral color is yellow, with streaks of red on the ventral part of the lower abdomen and back limbs. Their toes are not fully webbed. Differences exist between the subspecies and the sexes.

The northern subspecies lack vocal sacs. They also have smooth, thin, and unspotted skin. The California subspecies have paired vocal sacs and rougher skin with light-centered spots on it. California red-legged frogs are also bigger in size.

Females grow to a larger size than their male conspecifics do. Males have larger forearms and swollen thumbs. Red-legged frogs are diurnal.

As an anti-predator technique, they flee into the water, swimming to its depths. This is usually in response to an attack from a predator.

5. Relict Leopard Frog

Relict Leopard Frog (Lithobates onca) in wet moss in Clark County, Nevada, USA
Relict Leopard Frog (Lithobates onca) in wet moss in Clark County, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae 
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates onca 
  • Other Names: Rana onca
  • Adult Size: 4.4 to 8.9 cm (1.75 to 3.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years

The relict leopard frog is an almost extinct species of frog with a 70-90% population decline in recent years. It is native to the United States and endemic to (only found in) the US states of Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Individual frogs of this species used to occur in creeks, springs, and seep in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Recent research finds them in small populations in springs that enter the Colorado River.

Relict leopard frogs have dorsolateral folds that extend halfway or three-quarters down the length of their backs. These folds are short and indistinct. Males can be identified by their large tympana and paired vocal sacs.

On their backs, the skin is colored brown, gray, or green. It has green-brown spots that fade in color or reduce in number and size towards the front of the body. The spots extend to the upper parts of the thighs and their borders are indefinite.

The legs of relict leopard frogs are shortened. They have an incomplete light-colored stripe running above their upper lip. Their underside is whitish with dark mottling or spotting around the throat.

A yellow or yellow-orange color can be noticed around the groins and underneath the hindlimbs of this species. They are crepuscular and nocturnal frogs that show no activity in cold weather.

6. Columbia Spotted Frog

Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) swimming in clear water near Franklin Lake Wildlife Management Area, Nevada, USA
Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) swimming in clear water near Franklin Lake Wildlife Management Area, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana luteiventris
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 4.6 to 10 cm (1.81 to 3.94 in)
  • Lifespan: 3 to 13 years in the wild

Columbia spotted frogs occur in North America, the US, and Canada. In Canada, they live in Yukon and British Columbia. In the US, they inhabit Alaska, Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, and Nevada.

Still and slow-moving sources of freshwater are ideal for frogs of this species. They are mostly found living in, around, or along the banks of ponds, streams, lakes, and slow-moving streams.

A Columbia spotted frog is medium or average-sized. Its back could be tan, brown, or olive green in color. Dark and irregularly shaped spots are scattered across its back, legs, and sides. Ventral coloration is white, off-white, or yellow.

A yellowish or white line can be noticed running along the frog’s upper lip. Its snout is narrow, its legs short and its feet webbed. The skin of the species typically has rough dorsal folds on it.

It is diurnal, with a call low in pitch that sounds like rapid knocking or a chick clucking. A Columbia spotted frog is able to startle its predators by an alarm call. This alarm call is a shriek that normally lasts about 6 seconds.

7. Pacific Tree Frog

Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) on a leaf at Sunset Beach, Oregon, USA
Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) on a leaf at Sunset Beach, Oregon, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris regilla
  • Other Names: Pacific chorus frog, Northern Pacific tree frog
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 5 cm (0.75 to 2 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

Pacific tree frogs are native to North America, inhabiting Mexico, Canada, and the US. In the USA, they can be found in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

As their name suggests, they are found in the Pacific Northwest area of North America. They however like to live on land. They live in dense vegetation near ponds, springs, swamps, streams, and several other damp places.

On the head of an individual of this species, a distinct Y-shaped mark is noticed, between the eyes. Two black stripes are also noticed on the frog’s dorsum, each one starting from each shoulder and through each eye.

Pacific tree frogs have black spots on their dorsal skin and legs. Although largely terrestrial, they are biologically adapted for climbing with sticky circular disks (toe pads) on the ends of their toes. Female frogs are larger than males.

Dorsally, each individual is colored differently from others, colored in various hues itself. Coloration is however usually any shade from lime green to brown. Depending on humidity and temperature, the color of their skin can change shade.

Pacific tree frogs are nocturnal. Their call is a deep and loud croak, a rapid “cree-creek”. They can change color to camouflage but they cannot willingly change their dorsal coloration to match their surroundings.

8. Canyon Tree Frog

Canyon Tree Frog (Dryophytes arenicolor) on set branches at Coronado National Forest, Arizona, USA
Canyon Tree Frog (Dryophytes arenicolor) on set branches at Coronado National Forest, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae 
  • Scientific Name: Dryophytes arenicolor
  • Other Names: Hyla arenicolor
  • Adult Size: 3.2 to 5.7 cm (1.26 to 2.24 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

Another species of frog in Nevada is the canyon tree frog. It is native to the southern part of the United States with a range extending down to Mexico. It is also found in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Guanajuato, Guerrero, México, and Oaxaca.

Individuals of this species like to live in rocky flatlands. They are found in both dry, arid areas and moist habitats like stream banks. Some are also found in pools at the bottom of canyons.

These small frogs are primarily terrestrial but they live in trees too. Canyon tree frogs have rough and warty dorsal skin to prevent them from drying up. This skin is brown or gray with random spots on it.

Their ventrum is cream to yellow-orange in color. When in the sun, their dorsal skin changes from a normal dark to a light gray color. Males have dark or yellow throats while females’ throats are white to cream in color.

They have extensively webbed toes, but the webbing does not extend to the fifth toe on their hind legs. They have large and sticky toe pads for climbing. A light spot with dark edges can be found underneath each of their eyes.

Canyon tree frogs are mostly nocturnal. Their call is a hollow, nasal, and explosive sound that is short in duration. It usually lasts around 1 to 3 seconds.

9. Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog

Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog (Rana sierrae) on rocks in water in Fresno County, California, USA
Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged Frog (Rana sierrae) on rocks in water in Fresno County, California, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Rana sierrae
  • Other Names: Sierra Nevada mountain yellow-legged frog
  • Adult Size: 5 to 7.6 cm (2 to 3 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs are endemic to the US states of California and Nevada. Several populations have been found northeast of Sierra Nevada, down to the Glass Mountains east of the Sierra Nevada crest.

A now-extinct population occurred northeast of Lake Tahoe in Nevada. These frogs are usually found close to water. They typically live around ponds, lakes, sunny river banks, isolated pools, and meadow streams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The medium or average-sized individuals of this species have slender waists and long legs. Its hind leg digits are fully webbed. Two indistinct ridges or folds are seen running along this frog’s back.

They are usually colored olive, brown, or yellowish dorsally, with several black markings and blotches on their backs. Ventrally, their bellies and the skin under their legs are in any shade of hue from pale orange to yellow.

Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs are mainly diurnal. Their males usually call underwater in the daytime but they are sometimes heard calling at night. They lack vocal sacs so their calls are usually low in volume.

The mating or advertisement call of this species is a short and rasping sound. It often accelerates and then rises in pitch at the end although it sometimes remains at the same pitch towards the end.

Species of Toads in Nevada

10. Woodhouse’s Toad

Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii) standing on rocks at Corn Creek, Nevada, USA
Woodhouse’s Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii) standing on rocks at Corn Creek, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus woodhousii
  • Other Names: Bufo woodhousii
  • Adult Size: 6 to 10 cm (2.4 to 3.94 in)
  • Lifespan: 10 to 20 years, record longevity of 36 years

Woodhouse’s toads are found in several populations in states of the US including Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, and Utah. They also live in Mexico.

They occur in different temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent water bodies. Moist meadows, ponds, irrigation ditches, temporary pools, grasslands, farms, desert streams, and golf courses are some habitats that house them.

On toads of this species, the dorsal coloration is usually gray, brown, olive, green, yellow-green, or yellow. Dark blotches are present on their backs also. A dorsolateral stripe running up to their snout is seen in white or whitish color.

Ventrally, Woodhouse’s toads are pale cream or beige in color. Individuals may have their bellies mottled or not. Black and yellow marks can be noticed towards the ventral groin and thigh areas.

These large toads have warty skin. Their cranial crests are very prominent. Sometimes, a protrusion touching the separate parotid glands can be noticed between these cranial crests.

Woodhouse’s toads are primarily nocturnal but they can be sometimes seen moving around in the daytime when they are not underground. Not much activity is noticed from them in the winter and so it is speculated that they hibernate.

Their call resembles a muted snore or the sound of a sheep bleating. It typically lasts 1 to 4 seconds.

These toads move slowly, walking or crawling with short hops. Their defense is the poisonous secretions from their skin that deter predators.

11. Amargosa Toad

Amargosa Toad (Anaxyrus nelsoni) on mossy water and leaves in Nye County, Nevada, USA
Amargosa Toad (Anaxyrus nelsoni) on mossy water and leaves in Nye County, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus nelsoni
  • Other Names: Bufo nelsoni
  • Adult Size: 5.08 to 11.43 cm (2 to 4.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 9 to 12 years

The Amargosa toad is native and endemic to the state of Nevada. Its range is only about 10 miles, in the Oasis Valley of the Amargosa River. This toad species is one of the most critically endangered in North America.

The current population of this toad is about 2,000 to 2,500 individuals. They are found in the riparian corridor, adjacent springs, outflow wetland systems, and isolated springs in the surrounding hills of the Amargosa River.

These toads can be identified by their narrow heads, long snouts, and very short limbs. Dorsally, they are usually colored tan or beige. Black or brown speckles or splotches are also seen on their backs.

The Amargosa toad’s warty back also has a white or light stripe running down its center. Underneath it, the venter is whitish and mottled. These scattered blotches merge above its leg, seeming as though the toad is wearing pants.

It breeds along the edges of ponds, pools and streams, springs, flooded marshes, and artificial water bodies. In the summer, it lives in varied dry and wet habitats, and in the winter it hibernates in rodent burrows.

Amargosa toads are nocturnal. They are known to produce only release calls. Release calls are made by males or unreceptive females when grabbed by conspecifics or other animals in the position for mating.

12. Great Plains Toad

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) on rocky ground near grass in San Simon, Arizona, USA
Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) on rocky ground near grass in San Simon, Arizona, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae 
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus cognatus
  • Other Names: Bufo cognatus
  • Adult Size: 4.8 to 11.4 cm (1.9 to 4.5 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 10.7 years in captivity

Another species of toad in Nevada is the Great Plains toad. The toad is found in Canada, Mexico, and the USA. It is widely distributed and found in Alberta, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Manitoba, and many other places.

Individuals can be found in damp sections of grasslands and arid areas. They have been found mostly living in temperate areas, deserts, savannas, temporary rain pools, reservoirs, and river floodplains.

They are average-sized, relatively large toads. They have small heads and their cranial crests are well developed, forming a “V” between the eyes. The snouts of this species are blunt and rounded.

The dorsal coloration on Great Plains toads is usually yellowish, greenish, brown, or gray. They may have a light and narrow mid-dorsal stripe along the length of their backs. Ventral coloration is cream to white without spots.

There are large dark blotches on their backs bordered in a halo-like manner, in the lighter pigments of white or cream. Each blotch has many warts on it. The skin is very rough because of these warts

Great Plains toads are primarily nocturnal but sometimes show activity in the daytime. Their call is a high-pitched trill like that of American toads, but it is more mechanical and compelling. Like other toads, they are poisonous.

13. Red-Spotted Toad

Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) on a rock surface in Clark County, Nevada, USA
Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) on a rock surface in Clark County, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae 
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus punctatus
  • Other Names: Bufo punctatus
  • Adult Size: 3.8 to 7.6 cm (1.5 to 3 in)
  • Lifespan: 2 to 11.3 years

The red-spotted toad is found in the southwestern region of the United States and the northwestern part of Mexico. In the USA, these toads occur in Oklahoma, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, and Utah.

Individuals are found in oases, river floodplains, and rocky desert streams. These toads have pointed snouts. Their heads and bodies are flattened. They are relatively small, with males and females approximately the same size.

The skin on the back of a red-spotted toad is dry and full of warts. It is typically olive, brownish or light gray with red or orange warts, hence the name. The skin on its underside is white or cream and may have or lack spotting.

Cranial crests could be absent in this species but they are usually weak when present. Their round parotid glands are about the same size as their eyes. Males have dark throats while females’ throats are pale.

These toads are nocturnal, showing most of their activity in the nighttime. In the daytime, they either remain underground or hide underneath surfaces. Their call is a high-pitched and musical trill that may last up to 10 seconds.

Red-spotted toads have poisonous secretions used as a defense mechanism against predation. These poisons are produced by their parotid glands and many warts on their skin.

14. Great Basin Spadefoot

Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana) on dry dirt in Tonopah, Nevada, USA
Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana) on dry dirt in Tonopah, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Spea intermontanus
  • Other Names: Scaphiopus intermontanus, Great Basin spadefoot toad
  • Adult Size: 3.2 to 6.7 cm (1.26 to 2.64 in)
  • Lifespan: 11 to 13 years in the wild

The Great Basin spadefoot is another species of toad native to North America. They are found in several states of the US, like California, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

Adapted to living in xeric conditions, these toads occur in deserts, semi-desert shrublands, dunes, scrub forests, mountains, and other dry areas. They are able to survive in these habitats by burying themselves in their loose soils.

Dark spots with brightly colored centers can be seen on the dorsal skin of a Great Basin spadefoot. This skin is typically gray, brown, or olive in color. There is also a marking on its back which is outlined in gray and shaped like an hourglass.

Its underbelly is white, creamy, or light gray and it lacks mottling. In comparison to the skin on the backs of other true toads, the skin on the back of this species is smooth. Small bumps can still be found on it, however.

Great Basin spadefoots have a dark brown or orange spot on each of their upper eyelids. They have large and cat-like eyes with vertical pupils. Their limbs and body are short, fat, and stubby.

Like other spadefoot toad species, this one has a spade-like tubercle under each hindleg for burrowing. The female toads tend to be slightly larger in size than the males. Breeding does not take place at a particular time of each year for them.

The call of a male Great Basin spadefoot is a duck-like snoring sound. It is loud and used to attract females for mating. These toads are primarily nocturnal but they also show activity early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

15. Arizona Toad

Arizona Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus) on mud in New Mexico, USA
Arizona Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus) on mud in New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus microscaphus
  • Other Names: Bufo microscaphus
  • Adult Size: 4.6 to 8.6 cm (1.8 to 3.4 in)
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years

Arizona toads are endemic to North America and have been found only in the United States of America. Individuals occur in the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

Their habitats of choice include permanent or intermittent shallow water, sandy or rocky substrates, deserts, reservoirs, and irrigated farmlands. They live in both natural and human-altered places.

Most toads of this species are colored gray dorsally but some individuals have been noticed in pink, beige, rust, brown or pale yellow. They lack mid-dorsal stripes and cranial crests.

Arizona toads have dry and warty skin with low warts and few tubercles. They have oval and widely separated parotid glands. There is a paler shade of color on their upper eyelids, their central upper back, and the front of their parotid glands.

Ventrally, toads of this species are whitish, with no spots or mottling. Not much sexual dimorphism is seen in this species, as both males and females have pale throats. Because of their short legs, they hop to move.

Arizona toads are nocturnal, remaining underground in the daytime. Their call is a trilling sound, fast and high in pitch. It typically rises in pitch and then ends abruptly, averaging 5.7 seconds in length.

16. Plains Spadefoot

Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) on a rocky surface in Logan County, Kansas, USA
Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) on a rocky surface in Logan County, Kansas, USA. – Source
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Spea bombifrons 
  • Other Names: American spadefoot, European spadefoot, Plains spadefoot toad
  • Adult Size: 3.8 to 6.35 cm (1.5 to 2.5 in), record SVL 6.5 cm (2.56 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 13 years

This species of toad range from southern Canada through the United States and into northern Mexico. They can be found in Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

Plains spadefoots prefer to live in grasslands with loose soil to aid burrowing. On their heads, a pronounced round protuberance, also called a boss, can be noticed between the eyes. Their skin could be brown or gray with a greenish tinge.

Four vague longitudinal stripes may be noticed on their backs. Their warts are usually yellow or orange in color. However, their skin is smoother and moister than most toads’ skins, more like a frog’s skin.

Like on other species of spadefoots, there is a single tubercle on the hindleg of toads of this species. This tubercle, used for burrowing, is wedge-shaped and spade-like. The toes of these toads are webbed.

Plains spadefoots are nocturnal and are most active during the rains. This species is largely terrestrial. It is considered vulnerable, as it is quite common but individuals are rarely seen across its geographical range.

This toad has two distinct calls, both short and sounding like a duck. One is low-pitched and raspy like a snore, lasting for approximately one second. The other call is resonant and bleat-like, lasting for approximately half a second.

17. Western Toad

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) in sticks, rocks, and grass in Spring Creek, Nevada, USA
Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) in sticks, rocks, and grass in Spring Creek, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus boreas
  • Other Names: Bufo boreas, alkali toad, boreal toad, California toad, Southern California toad
  • Adult Size: 5.6 to 13 cm (2.2 to 5.1 in)
  • Lifespan: 9 to 11 years

The western toad is found in states of the US like Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, thanks Washington, and Wyoming. It also occurs in British Columbia, Canada, and parts of Mexico.

It likes to live in mountainous areas, found in elevations up to 10,000 feet. They may also inhabit desert streams and springs, mountain meadows, and grasslands. They are found in or near ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers.

Dorsal coloration is usually a dusky gray or greenish hue. A stripe runs down its back, and this line is white or cream in color. Black or dark-colored splotches can be noticed on the dorsal surface of the toads.

Western toads have parotid glands but lack cranial crests. Their oval parotid glands are oval, widely spaced, and larger than their upper eyelids. Ventrally, they are white in color with mottling on their surface.

Slight sexual dimorphism can be seen in this species. Males have smoother skin, fewer blotches on their backs, and nuptial pads on their toes for gripping the females while mating during the breeding season.

The dorsal skin of female western toads is rougher in texture than that of the males. They have many blotches on their skin and lack nuptial pads on their toes. The call of this toad species is a quiet peeping likened to the sound of little chicks.

18. Dixie Valley Toad

Dixie Valley Toad (Anaxyrus williamsi) swimming in murky water in Churchill County, Nevada, USA
Dixie Valley Toad (Anaxyrus williamsi) swimming in murky water in Churchill County, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus williamsi
  • Other Names: Bufo williamsi
  • Adult Size: 5.46 cm (2.2 in) on average
  • Lifespan: N/A

Endemic to Churchill County in the US state of Nevada, the Dixie Valley toad is an endangered species. Its range is the Dixie Valley Playa within the Great Basin, less than 4 miles in total. Its habitat is a wetland fed by hot springs.

The olive-colored dorsal skin of this toad is covered gold in flecks and has black freckles also. These very small toad species are easily preyed on by bullfrogs. It is typically nocturnal and emerges at dusk.

Discovered only five years ago in 2017, not much information is currently available on this species. An advertisement call has not been noticed in Dixie Valley toads, but they make use of a release call that sounds like a baby crying.

19. Railroad Valley Toad

Railroad Valley Toad (Anaxyrus nevadensis) on wet ground in Nye County, Nevada, USA
Railroad Valley Toad (Anaxyrus nevadensis) on wet ground in Nye County, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus nevadensis
  • Other Names: Bufo nevadensis
  • Adult Size: about 5.08 cm (2 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

The Railroad Valley toad is found in only one wetland complex in Railroad Valley in Nye County, Nevada. This wetland is fed by thermal springs and the toad requires consistent spring flow for survival.

Its range is about 445 acres and it is isolated from other species of toads by miles of arid desert. It is distinguishable by its brown and gray dorsal skin covered in prominent warts. The belly of this toad is black and white in color.

Individuals have longer heads and limbs, with shorter and narrower parotid glands. Irregular olive and green spots can also be seen on the toads. Its range is severely restricted and its existence is threatened by extractive activities in the area.

Railroad Valley toads are nocturnal. They have been noticed using release calls but not advertisement calls. Since this species was only recently identified, more information on its behavior is unavailable.

20. Hot Creek Toad

Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus) in grass at Morey Peak, Nevada, USA
Hot Creek Toad (Anaxyrus monfontanus) in grass at Morey Peak, Nevada, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus monfontanus
  • Other Names: Bufo monfontanus
  • Adult Size: about 6 cm (2.3 in) on average
  • Lifespan: N/A

Hot Creek toads are endemic to a small area in Hot Creek Canyon, Nye County, Nevada. The third recently discovered species of toads in Nevada received full species status in 2020.

Like the other two species, it was once thought to be a distinct population of the western toad. These particular toads live in marsh habitats fed by hot springs. Their range is also extremely restricted and remote.

The Hot Creek toad has shorter limbs and a shorter head than the western toad. It has large parotid glands and its dorsum is weakly warted. It is usually olive-gray in color with black flecks.

A distinct white line running along its back on its spine sets it apart from similar species. It is nocturnal.

FAQs

Are there any frogs in Nevada?

Yes, there are frogs in Nevada. Although there are more species of toads than frogs in Nevada, nine (9) species of frogs live in the state. They are: American bullfrogs, northern leopard frogs, lowland leopard frogs, red-legged frogs, relict leopard frogs, Columbia spotted frogs, Pacific tree frogs, canyon tree frogs, and Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs.

Do toads live in Nevada?

Yes, eleven (11) species of toads live in Nevada. These include Woodhouse’s toads, Amargosa toads, Great Plains toads, red-spotted toads, Great Basin spadefoot toads, Arizona toads, Plains spadefoot toads, western toads, Dixie Valley toads, Railroad Valley toads, and Hot Creek toads.

Are bullfrogs in Nevada?

Although bullfrogs are not native to the state, there are bullfrogs in Nevada.

Conclusion

Nevada is home to twenty (20) anuran species, including nine (9) species of frogs and eleven (11) species of toads. Three kinds of toads that were formerly considered populations of the western toad have recently been assigned species status.

Both frogs and toads go through three stages of development (metamorphosis), from egg to larva and then to adult. Fertilization occurs externally in water in most frogs and toads. This is why they breed around water bodies.

The females release their eggs into the water after mating (amplexus). The males then release sperm to fertilize the eggs externally. The exception is frogs of the family Ascaphidae (tailed frogs) which fertilize eggs internally.

Reproduction occurs usually in the spring and this is called the breeding season. During this season, these animals who prefer a solitary life during other times of the year congregate at breeding pools in large numbers.

Males take breeding choruses, calling out to females using mating or advertisement calls which are peculiar to each species. Interested females come and make their choices, they mate, and external fertilization occurs in water.

After fertilization, little or no parental involvement is shown in the lives of the young. Eggs and tadpoles are eaten by various animals in large numbers. In certain species, most individuals do not survive past the larval stage.

Frogs and toads provide food to larger animals up the food chain. They in turn eat household and crop pests so they are of importance to our environment and ecosystem.

Also, their calls add to the magic of nighttime landscapes and views.

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