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Frogs in New Mexico

There are twenty-five (25) anuran species in New Mexico: twelve (12) species of toads and thirteen (13) species of frogs. This article lists each species of toad and frog in New Mexico and the peculiarities of its adults.

Generally, frogs have smooth and moist skin with long legs for jumping and leaping. While they have more slender bodies, toads are stockier in appearance. Toads have dry and rough skin with warts, and they have short chubby limbs for walking and hopping.

Both frogs and toads are colored to blend into their environments so as to avoid being seen by predators. This is called cryptic adaptation. They are also cryptically adapted with widely spaced eyes for wide vision and large external ears to sense vibrations.

Also, toads secrete poisons for their defense. Warts on their skins and their parotid glands produce and store these toxins to release in case of attacks. Some frogs are poisonous as well but they usually leap away or use some other form of defense.

Frogs and toads are primarily insectivorous although some larger ones may eat smaller ones and conspecifics (frogs and toads of their own species). In turn, they are eaten by small mammals, birds, snakes, otters, fish, larger anurans and reptiles, and humans.

Some species are vulnerable or endangered, while others are abundant. Unless otherwise stated, the species listed below are not endangered in New Mexico.

Information to be found in this article include the species’ biological family, zoological name, other common names, snout-vent length (SVL), longevity, geographic range, habitat, physical description, behavior, mating calls, and additional anti-predator techniques.

Table of Contents

  1. Frogs in New Mexico
  2. Toads in New Mexico
  3. FAQ
  4. Conclusion

Species of Frogs in New Mexico

1. Blanchard’s Cricket Frog

Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi) on a twig in West Monroe, Louisiana, USA
A Blanchard’s Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi) on a twig in West Monroe, Louisiana, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Acris blanchardi
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3.8 in (0.6 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 4 months in the wild

Blanchard’s cricket frogs are small-sized frogs found in Canada, Mexico, and the US. Apart from New Mexico, they can be found in US states such as Michigan, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Iowa.

They live at the edges of permanent water bodies like ponds, lakes, bogs, rivers, and slow-moving streams.

They can also make use of temporary water bodies if they are around permanent ones. They prefer to live in open spaces and unpolluted water.

These frogs’ backs are usually tan, gray, brown, or olive-green in color with warts on them. Blotches in red, green, or black may be noticed as well. They possess a broad middorsal stripe in red, green, tan, or brown.

The Blanchard’s cricket frog’s dorsal skin is moist while its ventral skin is white and granular. Most individuals have a dark triangle on their heads, in between their eyes.

They have fully webbed hindlegs with small toe pads. Dark bars may be noticed on the jaw of a frog of this species. A dark and ragged stripe is seen on the thighs of most of them.

Their call resembles the sound made by hitting two marbles together. It is a metallic “gick, gick, gick” sound. They show activity both day and night but reduce activity in colder weather.

2. Northern Cricket Frog

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a dry leaf in Appling, Georgia, USA
A Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) on a dry leaf in Appling, Georgia, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Acris crepitans
  • Adult Size: 1.5 to 3.8 cm (0.6 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: average of 4 months in the wild, up to 4.9 years in captivity

The northern cricket frog can be found in central and eastern United States.

It is found in states like Michigan, Colorado, and New Mexico. It also occurs in the northeastern portion of Mexico.

Preferred habitats for this species include lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. The frogs like to live at the edges of these water bodies with submerged or emergent vegetation.

These frogs have slim waists, webbed toes, and a dark triangular mark between their eyes. They have bumpy skin, and although they are members of the tree frog family, they are not arboreal.

On their backs, they are usually gray or light brown in color. They have a white line running from each eye to the base of each of their forelegs. Dark bands are also noticed on their legs.

Northern cricket frogs are diurnal, mostly active in the daytime. Their call is also a metallic “gick, gick” sound but it is short and lasts approximately a second.

To escape predators, these frogs employ their powerful jump of over three feet. They jump or leap away when they feel threatened.

3. Canyon Tree Frog

Canyon Tree Frog (Hyla arenicolor) on a rock in Socorro County, New Mexico, USA
A Canyon Tree Frog (Hyla arenicolor) on a rock in Socorro County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla arenicolor
  • Adult Size: 3.2 to 5.7 cm (1.26 to 2.24 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

The canyon tree frog species is native to the southern United States.

Its range extends southward, reaching Mexico. The frog is found in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Guanajuato, Guerrero, México, and Oaxaca.

These small frogs 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.

Canyon tree frogs are mostly found on the ground but they live in trees too. They have rough and warty dorsal skin to prevent them from desiccation (drying up). This dorsal skin is brown or gray with random spots on it.

Their ventral skin 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’ throats are dark or yellow, while females’ throats are white to cream-colored.

Their toes are extensively webbed, but the webbing does not extend to the fifth toe on their hindlegs. They have large and sticky toe pads that help them climb. A light spot with dark edges can also be found under each of their eyes.

Canyon tree frogs are nocturnal, mostly active at night. Their call is a hollow, nasal, and explosive sound that is short in duration. This call usually lasts 1-3 seconds.

4. Mountain Tree Frog

Mountain Tree Frog (Hyla eximia) on a wet rock in Durango, Mexico, USA
A Mountain Tree Frog (Hyla eximia) on a wet rock in Durango, Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla eximia
  • Other Names: Dryophytes eximius, Madrean tree frog
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 5.6 cm (0.75 to 2.2 in)
  • Lifespan: 5 to 9 years in the wild

Frogs of this species are native to Mexico, but can also be found in the US states of Arizona and New Mexico. They generally occur in the mountains, from the Sierra Madre Occidental to Guerrero, and in the Huachuca Mountains of Arizona

Mountain tree frogs like to reside at high elevations. They have been noticed along stream banks, in temporary roadside ditches, in wet meadows, and in coniferous forests.

They are small or average-sized frogs with greenish or brownish dorsal coloration. There are often dark stripes covering the length of these frogs’ dorsal skin.

There is a slight difference between the male and the female individuals of this species. This dimorphism is seen in the throats of the frogs. Males have darker throats colored green or tan while females have white throats.

Salamanders are known predators of mountain tree frogs. These frogs have very toxic skins as a form of defense against predation. They are nocturnal, showing most activity at night.

5. Arizona Tree Frog

Arizona Tree Frog (Hyla wrightorum) on a rocky surface in Grant County, New Mexico, USA
An Arizona Tree Frog (Hyla wrightorum) on a rocky surface in Grant County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Hyla wrightorum
  • Other Names: Dryophytes wrightorum, Wright’s mountain tree frog 
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 5.1 cm (0.75 to 2 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

This species of tree frog is found in the USA and the northern part of Mexico. It lives in the states of Arizona and New Mexico, into the Sierra Madre Occidental and Chihuahua, Mexico.

They live in or around creeks, pools, mixed and coniferous forests, savannahs, grasslands, wet meadows, streams, and roadside ditches. They however move to temporary waters to breed.

An Arizona tree frog is usually green in color, with bronze or gold streaks on its skin. From its snout through its eyes and down its back, it possesses a dark stripe.

These small frogs have white ventrums, with orange or gold coloration towards their groin area and on the back of their hindlegs. Their hindlegs are webbed and they have toe pads for climbing.

Males have darker throats than females. Their throats are usually tan-green in color while females’ throats are white or whitish in color. This species generally lives in trees.

Arizona tree frogs are nocturnal. They may be heard calling in the daytime on rainy days. Their call is a low-pitched, harsh, and nasal clicking, similar to the sound of metal striking metal.

These vulnerable frogs have toxins on their skins. Their toxins are produced when they feel threatened or even when touched. They can irritate the eyes of humans and other predators.

6. Western Chorus Frog

Western Chrous Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) on wood in Licking County, Ohio, USA
A Western Chrous Frog (Pseudacris triseriata) on wood in Licking County, Ohio, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris triseriata
  • Other Names: Midland chorus frog, striped chorus frog
  • Adult Size: 1.9 to 3.2 cm (0.75 to 1.26 in)
  • Lifespan: 1 to 5 years in the wild

Although a member of the tree frog family, the western chorus frog species rarely climbs. The frog occurs in Canada and the United States.

Individuals like to live in open, damp areas like marshes, moist woodlands, meadows, edges of forests, flood plains, and swamps.

They can be found in such colors as gray, light brown, dark brown, green, and rust orange. They have three dark dorsal stripes in dark brown or gray. A dark triangle may be found between their eyes.

On their upper lip runs a white line. Two dark stripes are found running from the snout across each eye and continuing down the groin of the western chorus frog. Venter is whitish with dark dots on the chest.

In the mating season, males have darker throats than females. Females tend to be a little bigger in size than males. They have excellent vision that is used to both sense and evade predators and catch prey.

These frogs are crepuscular, showing most activity at fish and dawn. Outside the breeding season, they are rarely seen. The call of a western chorus frog is a short trilling squeak “cree-ee-ee-ee-eek”.

7. Boreal Chorus Frog

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) on a wooden stump near Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
A Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) on a wooden stump near Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Hylidae
  • Scientific Name: Pseudacris maculata
  • Other Names: Pseudacris triseriata maculata 
  • Adult Size: 3 to 3.8 cm (1.18 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 2 to 3 years, record longevity of 6 years

Boreal chorus frogs like are distributed throughout much of Canada and the US.

Canadian regions where they occur include Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba. In the US, they are found in New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

Individuals like to live in open spaces and in forests with an open canopy. As long as there is enough vegetation for cover and food in the form of insects present, frogs of this species are comfortable.

Habitats they can be found in include grasslands, streams in marshy areas, roadside ditches, splash pools, beaver ponds, swamps, shallow lakes, flooded fields, and other freshwater sources without fish.

Boreal chorus frogs are small in size and they have smooth, moist skin. On their backs, they are colored in any shade from a greenish gray to brown. They usually have three stripes on their backs in a darker pigment than their dorsal color, and they may be broken.

From each eye to the groin, these frogs possess a dark stripe. A dark triangular pattern may also be seen on the head of some boreal chorus frogs, between their eyes. A white stripe is seen across their upper lip.

Their bellies are a light color, typically white, yellowish, or cream, and there may be dark mottling on the chest and throat. They have long toes with small toe pads for climbing. Their feet are webbed and their snouts are pointed.

The call of a boreal chorus frog is a loud chirp-like sound likened to the sound of drawing a finger down a comb’s teeth. It is a short sound that may be repeated 30-70 times per minute.

The frog is diurnal, nocturnal, and crepuscular, showing activity at any time of day. Weather and temperature affect its activity levels.

It shows more daytime activity in cooler months and more activity at dusk, night, and dawn in the hotter parts of the year.

8. American Bullfrog

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) peeking its head out of mossy water in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
An American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) peeking its head out of mossy water in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus
  • Other Names: Rana catesbeiana, American 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

The bullfrog is a largely aquatic frog native to eastern North America. It has been introduced to other places such as parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. It is usually found around bodies of water.

Common habitats that this frog can be found in include swamps, ponds, marshes, ditches, rivers, and streams with abundant vegetation are common habitats. It can be found along the banks of streams too. It prefers still, shallow water.

Bullfrogs are the largest species of true frogs existing in North America. Dorsally, they could be colored in any shade from brown to green, with darker colored blotches on their backs. They have fully webbed hind legs and white bellies.

In males, the external ear is much larger in size than the eye. In females, the eye and external ear are relatively the same size, or the ear is smaller in size. Also, the male’s throat is yellow while the female’s throat is white during mating season.

These frogs are active both during the day and at night. They however prefer warm and humid weather. Their call has been described as a low rumbling “jug-o-rum”.

They are a cannibalistic species that endanger some other species of frogs. Humans hunt them for meat but they face no threat of extinction.

They have an undesirable taste that makes them less attractive to predators.

9. Rio Grande Leopard Frog

Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Lithobates berlandieri on a light rock in Eddy County, New Mexico, USA
A Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Lithobates berlandieri on a light rock in Eddy County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates berlandieri
  • Other Names: Rana berlandieri, Mexican leopard frog 
  • Adult Size: 5.6 to 11.4 cm (2.2 to 4.49 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

The range of the Rio Grande leopard frog is the Nearctic region. It lives in US states like New Mexico and Texas, in Mexican regions like Veracruz, and in Central America.

Frogs of this species like to stay along stream banks. They are also noticed in or around springs, rivers, ponds, canals, cattle tanks, ditches, shrublands, grasslands, savannahs, forests, and deserts. They live around both permanent and temporary water bodies.

Dorsal coloration is usually green, brown, or gray. There are irregular brown spots of lighter pigment on the dorsum, bordered in olive green or light tan color. The chin of older frogs may be mottled.

Pale yellow folds can be conspicuously seen running along the length of the frog’s back. Its underside is usually whitish or cream in color and pale yellow towards the thighs. The legs are long and powerful.

Rio Grande leopard frogs show sexual dimorphism. Males have larger, more developed vocal sacs than females and vestigial oviducts lacking in females. Females are lighter in color and snakes in size than males.

Their mating call is a trilling sound, but they use other calls as well. These include release calls, chuckle calls, and distress calls. They eat other amphibians and are eaten by humans and other predators.

10. Plains Leopard Frog

Plains Leopard Frog (Lithobates blairi) on concrete in Chaves County, New Mexico, USA
A Plains Leopard Frog (Lithobates blairi) on concrete in Chaves County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates blairi
  • Other Names: Rana blairi, Blair’s leopard frog
  • Adult Size: 5.1 to 9.5 cm (2 to 3.75 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 9 years in the wild (only 5% of the population)

Plains leopard frogs are found in other US states besides New Mexico, like Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, Arizona, and Oklahoma. They like living in dry plains and prairies. They are usually found at the edge of ponds and streams.

These frogs are usually stocky and chubby. Dorsally, they are usually colored brown and they have lateral folds on their dorsum that stop just before the groin. There is also a distinct light line along their upper jaw.

A dark spot can be seen on the snout of a plains leopard frog. A light spot may be seen in the center of its external ear. This tympanum may be the same size as or slightly larger than its eye.

Its groin and the area under its thighs are yellow in color. The area around its cloaca is covered in tubercles. This species is threatened by loss of habitat and the predation of bullfrogs in some states.

The call of this frog is a series of 2 or 3 distinct snore-like clucking sounds. The call has a 3-second pulse rate. Plains leopard frogs are usually active on rainy nights.

11. Chiricahua Leopard Frog

Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis) walking through the dirt in Socorro County, New Mexico, USA
A Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis) walking through the dirt in Socorro County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Ranidae
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates chiricahuensis, Rana chiricahuensis
  • Other Names: N/A
  • Adult Size: 5 to 13.5 cm (1.97 to 5.31 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 14 years in the wild

The Chiricahua leopard frog is a true frog species found in Mexico and the USA. It inhabits two known ranges.

The first range is from central Arizona to the western part of New Mexico. The second is from southeast Arizona to southwest New Mexico and down to Sierra Madre, Durango, and Chihuahua, Mexico.

Chiricahua leopard frogs like to live in permanent aquatic habitats with aquatic vegetation. While they live in natural habitats such as ponds, lakes, streams, and springs, they also live in man-made habitats.

These frogs resemble bullfrogs. They are however extremely stocky with charcoal blotches on their backs. Their dorsal color is usually any shade from olive to dark green.

Underneath them, their groins and bellies are a pale yellow color. Males are smaller than females in general among this species. Individuals are found on trees or around vegetation.

The advertisement call of male Chiricahua leopard frogs is a trilling, snore-like sound. When disturbed or threatened, these great swimmers dive toward the bottom of their habitat.

12. Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in mud and grass near Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
A Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in mud and grass near Santa Fe, New Mexico, 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 4.37 in)
  • Lifespan: up to 9 years in the wild

Northern leopard frogs are native to North America and found in Canada and the USA. They are found in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and British Columbia.

They are found in many types of habitats, including marshlands, brushlands, and forests. They prefer to live along still or slow-moving water with vegetation and open space.

They are medium-sized. The dorsal coloration of these frogs is usually green or greenish brown. There are also brown round spots arranged on their backs, sides, and legs.

A distinct white fold runs down their backs. This dorsolateral fold extends from each of their eyes. From their nose to each shoulder, a white line runs across the mouths of northern leopard frogs.

The typical ventral coloration of this species is white or greenish white. Males are generally smaller than females, with thickened thumb pads specialized for gripping females while mating, and paired vocal sacs.

They are nocturnal frogs, showing the most activity at night. Their calls sound like a low and rumbling snore with clicks and croaks occasionally heard in between the snore-like sound.

When they are threatened, northern leopard frogs hop away while squawking or screaming. They also employ mimicry by occurring with pickerel frogs, mimicking them, and taking advantage of the resemblance to avoid predation.

Pickerel frogs are another species of frogs that look like northern leopard frogs. They secrete poisons that are harmful to and deter their attackers.

13. Lowland Leopard Frog

Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) sitting in a leaf in Maricopa County, Arizona, USA
A Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) sitting in a leaf in Maricopa County, 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

This ranid frog is another species of frog in New Mexico.

It is native to Mexico and the US. Habitats include temperate forests, freshwater marshes, freshwater lakes, rivers, and intermittent rivers.

Lowland leopard frogs are tan, brown, or bright green in color. They have large black or dark spots on their backs. Below them, they are yellowish on their abdomen, toad 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 males.

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

These frogs breed throughout the year. They are mostly nocturnal, and their calls are short and quiet chuckles and sound like quick, short kisses.

They stay completely still to avoid being detected by predators, and jump into water or vegetation when frightened.

Species of Toads in New Mexico

14. Colorado River Toad

Colorado River Toad (Incilius alvarius) in a flat rocky surface in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, USA
A Colorado River Toad (Incilius alvarius) in a flat rocky surface in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Incilius alvarius
  • Other Names: Bufo alvarius, Sonoran Desert toad
  • Adult Size: 11 to 18.7 cm (4 to 7.4 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

Native to North America, the Colorado River toad occurs in the northern area of Mexico and the southwestern part of the United States. It is mainly terrestrial and loves to inhabit desert habitats.

It is a large toad species with leathery skin and low rounded bumps. Its dorsal skin can be any shade from olive brown to black. Females have warts in straight lines on their backs, red in color.

There are enlarged glands behind their eyes and a few bumps on the back of their limbs. This species of toad is the largest in size in North America. They are listed as a threatened species in the state of New Mexico.

Colorado River frogs mostly show nocturnal activity. Their calls may not be heard from far away unlike that of most frogs and toads. Their call is described as a whistling screech, low in pitch, weak, and lasting only a second or half a second.

In addition to producing toxins from their skin, these toads are able to eat prey that uses sting mechanisms or poisonous secretions for defense.

15. Western Toad

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) in grass and on rocks in water in British Columbia, Canada
A Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas) in grass and on rocks in water in British Columbia, Canada. – 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 also found in New Mexico.

It is found in other states of the US like Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. It occurs in Canada and parts of Mexico too.

Individuals prefer to live in mountainous areas, in elevations as high as or higher than 10,000 feet. They also occupy desert streams and springs, mountain meadows, and grasslands. They are found in or near ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers.

The most common dorsal color of this species is a dusky gray or greenish hue. A mid-dorsal stripe runs down its back, and this line is white or cream in color. Black or dark-colored spots are also seen on the toads’ backs.

Their parotid glands are oval and widely spaced, larger in size than the toad’s upper eyelids. Cranial crests are absent in this species.

Ventral coloration is white and the ventral surface is mottled. Males have smoother skin than females, fewer blotches on their backs, and thickened nuptial pads on their toes, which the females lack, for gripping them in amplexus (while mating).

Western toads are nocturnal. Their call is a quiet peeping likened to the sound of little chicks. Like other frogs, their anti-predator mechanism is the poison produced by their parotid glands and warts on their skin.

16. Great Plains Toad

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) sitting in rocks in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, USA
A Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus) sitting in rocks in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, 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 

Toads of this species can be found from the southwest region of Manitoba, Canada to central US states like Utah and California, and down to Mexican states like Durango and Chihuahua.

They can be found in damp sections of grasslands and arid areas. They live in temperate areas, able to live in deserts, savannahs, temporary rain pools, reservoirs, and floodplains of rivers.

These toads are average-sized, with small heads and well-developed cranial crests. They have blunt, rounded snouts.

The dorsal coloration on great plains toads is usually yellowish, greenish, brown, or gray. They may have a light and narrow stripe running down their backs. Ventral coloration is cream to white without spots.

There are large dark blotches on its back bordered in a lighter color. Each blotch has many warts on it. The skin is very rough because of warts on it.

They are primarily nocturnal but sometimes show activity in the daytime. Their call is a high-pitched trill, mechanical and compelling. They also produce poisons from their skin.

17. Green Toad

Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis) in wet dirt and leaves in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, USA
A Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis) in wet dirt and leaves in Roosevelt County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus debilis 
  • Other Names: Bufo debilis, Chihuahuan green toad, North American green toad
  • Adult Size: 2.6 to 5.4 cm (1.02-2.13 in)
  • Lifespan: 10 years in the wild, up to 12.4 years in captivity

The green toad is a toad species endemic to Mexico and states of the US like Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, and Texas. It lives in arid to semi-arid areas with open spaces.

These toads do not migrate to breed, so in the event of insufficient rainfall, they wait and breed the following year. In the dry season, they can be found by upturning rocks. In the rainy season, they breed in temporary pools after rainfall.

They are small and green with black spots on their backs. Their heads are flat and wedge-shaped. Their underside is white and spotless. Their cranial crests are reduced and their skin is covered in warts.

Green toads show sexual dimorphism. Males have dusky or black throats and are smaller in size. Females’ throats are yellow or white, and they are larger than males.

The call of this toad is a long high-pitched trill, lasting less than 7 seconds, and it is similar to the sound of crickets. The frog is nocturnal and not easily seen above ground except during breeding choruses or breeding.

The green toad avoids predation by remaining underground for most of the year. If threatened while taking a breeding chorus, the toad will hide underwater or in vegetation.

It is also able to release poisons from its skin and parotid glands.

18. Southwestern Toad

Southwestern Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus) on some dirt and grass in Socorro County, New Mexico, USA
A Southwestern Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus) on some dirt and grass in Socorro County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus microscaphus
  • Other Names: Bufo microscaphus, Arizona toad
  • Adult Size: 4.6 to 8.6 cm (1.8 to 3.4 in)
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years

Arizona toads are endemic to the United States. They are found in such states as 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, but individuals may be 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 paratoid glands. There is a paler shade of color on their upper eyelids, their central upper back, and the front of their paratoid glands.

Their ventral color is whitish, with no spots or mottling. Both males and females have pale throats. Because of their short legs, they hop.

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

19. Red-Spotted Toad

Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) on rocky pavement in Sierra County, New Mexico, USA
A Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) on rocky pavement in Sierra County, New Mexico, 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 years on average

The red-spotted toad species occur in New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arizona, and some parts of Mexico. Individuals are found in oases, river floodplains, and rocky desert streams.

The snout of a red-spotted toad is pointed. The head and body are flattened. This frog is relatively small in size, with males and females approximately the same size.

The skin on its back is dry and warty. 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 paratoid glands are about the same size as their eyes.

Males have dark throats while females’ throats are pale.

Red-spotted toads are nocturnal. In the daytime, they either remain underground or hide underneath surfaces. Their call is high-pitched and musical. It is a trill that lasts up to 10 seconds.

20. Texas Toad

Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus) on a rocky surface at Brokeoff Mountains Wilderness Study Area, New Mexico, USA
A Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus) on a rocky surface at Brokeoff Mountains Wilderness Study Area, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus speciosus
  • Other Names: Bufo speciosus
  • Adult Size: 5.1 to 9.1 cm (2 to 3.58 in)
  • Lifespan: 3 to 4 years, up to 4.25 years in captivity

The Texas toad is native to a large part of western Texas, southeastern New Mexico, and western Oklahoma. Its range continues southwards into Mexico, in states such as Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila and Chihuahua.

They like to live in desert areas close to a temporary water body. Sandy soil, open forests, and grasslands are also comfortable for them. To breed, they move to warm freshwater streams and small pools.

The body of Texas toads is round and stocky with bumps. Dorsal skin is usually colored gray or green, with warts and speckles of brown and yellow on it. Males are often smaller in size than females.

They are nocturnal toads, eating mostly at night outside the breeding season and in the daytime during the breeding season. Their call is a series of loud trills that last 1.5 seconds but occur at 1-second intervals. The call may last up to 20 minutes.

Texas toads are more active in the warmer months and they go into hibernation in the colder ones. They produce toxins from their dorsal skin to ward off predators.

The secretion is so poisonous that it could lead to respiratory failure in predators when ingested.

21. Woodhouse’s Toad

Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii) on rocks in Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico, USA
A Woodhouse’s Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii) on rocks in Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Bufonidae
  • Scientific Name: Anaxyrus woodhousii 
  • Other Names: Bufo woodhousii, rocky mountain toad
  • Adult Size: 4.4 to 12.7 cm (1.75 to 5 in)
  • Lifespan: maximum longevity of 13 years

Woodhouse’s toads are found in several US states like Arizona, Louisiana, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and North Dakota. They also live in Mexico.

They occur in different habitats — temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent water bodies. They like to inhabit moist meadows, ponds, irrigation ditches, temporary pools, grasslands, farms, desert streams, and even golf courses.

Dorsally, they are usually colored gray, brown, olive, green, yellow-green, or yellow, with dark blotches on their dorsal skin. A white or whitish stripe runs from their snouts down their backs.

Ventrally, Woodhouse’s toads are a bright or whitish color like pale cream or beige, and individuals may have mottling on their bellies. Black and yellow marks can be noticed towards the groin area and underneath the thighs.

Toads of this species are large and have warts on their skin. They have prominent cranial crests. Sometimes, a protrusion touching the parotid glands can be seen between these cranial crests.

They are nocturnal, showing most activity at night, but can be sometimes seen moving around in the daytime when they are not underground. Because they are not known to show much activity in the winter, they are believed to hibernate.

Their call sounds like the muted bleating of a sheep, or like a snore. It typically lasts 1-4 seconds.

22. Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toad

Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea) on wet pebbles in Riley County, Kansas, USA
A Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea) on wet pebbles in Riley County, Kansas, USA. – Source
  • Family: Microhylidae
  • Scientific Name: Gastrophryne olivacea
  • Other Names: Great Plains narrowmouth, western narrowmouthed toad
  • Adult Size: 2.22 to 3.8 cm (0.875 to 1.5 in)
  • Lifespan: N/A

The Great Plains narrow-mouth species lives only in Mexico and the United States. In the US, it lives in south-central states like Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

These toads inhabit rocky hills, grasslands, and areas along the edge of marshes. They hide in loose soil, under rocks or other objects, and in animal burrows.

Great Plains narrow-mouths have plump bodies, small pointed heads, and a fold of skin behind their eyes. Dorsal color is usually tan, olive green, or gray, with few markings. The ventral color is white.

To make burrowing easier, they have pointed snouts and narrow heads. Their mouths are very small and their skin is smooth. Their unwebbed toes are tapered and rounded at the tip.

Their call is a short and high-pitched sound likened to the buzzing of a bee. It sounds like a “peeeel” and lasts 1 to 4 seconds. It has also been described as a nasal buzz.

They are nocturnal and hard to observe because of their very small size. They produce secretions from their parotid glands and warts on their skin, like other toads, to protect themselves from predation.

23. Couch’s Spadefoot

Couch's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii) on rocks in Hidalgo, New Mexico, USA
A Couch’s Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii) on rocks in Hidalgo, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Scaphiopus couchii 
  • Other Names: Couch’s spadefoot toad
  • Adult Size: 5.6 to 9.1 cm (2.25 to 3.6 in)
  • Lifespan: 6.7 years, up to 13 years

Couch’s spadefoots are toads found in New Mexico, other southwestern states of the US, and parts of Mexico. They live underground in arid or semi-arid areas. They like soft, dry soil in order to burrow into it easily.

They have stout bodies, short legs, and warty skin. Dorsal skin could be green-yellow, brown-yellow, or bright green in color. Males tend to have greener skin than females, with fewer markings.

The markings on their dorsal skin are usually dark green, brown, or black. Their ventral surface is white. Their hindlegs have a spade on the inner surface, which is a single sickle-shaped tubercle, for burrowing.

Couch’s spadefoots are a nocturnal species and they are highly adapted to xeric (dry) conditions. Their call is a nasal, harsh, and noisy groan that descends in pitch. It is likened to the bleating of a lamb.

A parasite Pseudodiplorchis americanus infects breeding toads and then feeds on their blood when they are in hibernation. Some individuals may not survive hibernation because of this parasitic infection.

24. Plains Spadefoot

Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) on dark gravel at Granite Gap, New Mexico, USA
A Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) on dark gravel at Granite Gap, New Mexico, 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

Plains spadefoots range from southern Canada through the United States and into northern Mexico. These toads can be found in Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

They prefer to live in grasslands with loose soil. This is because they like to burrow into the ground, like other spadefoot toads, and areas conducive and easy enough to burrow into.

On the head of an individual of this species, a pronounced round protuberance, also called a boss, can be noticed between the eyes. Its skin could be brown or gray with a greenish tinge.

Four vague longitudinal stripes may be noticed on its back. Its warts could be yellow or orange in color. However, the skin is moist and smoother than most toads’ skins, more like a frog’s skin.

Like on other spadefoot species, there is a single tubercle on the hindleg of a plains spadefoot. The tubercle is wedge-shaped and spade-like, an adaptation for burrowing. Their toes are webbed.

They 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.

The call of a plains spadefoot is short and sounds like a duck. It has two distinct calls; one is low-pitched and raspy like a snore, lasting for approximately one second.

The other call is short, resonant, and bleat-like, lasting for approximately half a second.

25. New Mexican Spadefoot

New Mexican Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata) on dirt and rocks in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, USA
A New Mexican Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata) on dirt and rocks in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, USA. – Source
  • Family: Scaphiopodidae
  • Scientific Name: Spea multiplicata 
  • Other Names: Mexican spadefoot toad, New Mexico spadefoot toad
  • Adult Size: 3.8 to 6.35 cm (1.5 to 2.5 in)
  • Lifespan: 4 to 8 years

Toads of this species are found in the southwestern part of the US and in Mexico.

This species is the state amphibian of New Mexico, hence the name. In the US, they are found in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

New Mexico spadefoots live in various habitats. These include: river valleys, grasslands, agricultural lands and semi-arid shrublands.

They have dark gray or brown skin on their backs, with small spots in the same color, but a darker shade. There also are tubercles scattered on the dorsal skin, with red tips. There are no stripes running down their backs.

No protuberance (called a boss) is found between their eyes, and their eyelids are wider than the space in the middle that separates them.

Like on other spadefoot toads, a short spade in the shape of a wedge is visible on each hindleg of individuals of this species. Males are told apart by their dark vocal sacs.

New Mexico spadefoots are nocturnal, hiding in burrows or underneath surface objects in the daytime, during the rains, and in the summer.

Their call sounds like the running of a fingernail along a comb’s stiff teeth. It is a vibrant and metallic trill lasting 0.75-1.5 seconds.

FAQs

What type of toads live in New Mexico?

Twelve (12) types of toads live in New Mexico. They are Colorado River toads, western toads, Great Plains toads, green toads, southwestern toads, red-spotted toads, Texas toads, Woodhouse’s toads, Great Plains narrow-mouths, Couch’s spadefoots, plains spadefoots, and New Mexico spadefoots.

Are there poisonous frogs in New Mexico?

Yes, two species of frogs in New Mexico are poisonous. They include mountain tree frogs and Arizona tree frogs.

Are there spadefoot toads in New Mexico?

Yes, there are spadefoot toads in New Mexico. They are of three species: Couch’s spadefoot toads, plains spadefoot toads, and New Mexico spadefoot toads.

Conclusion

The US state of New Mexico is home to thirteen (13) species of frogs and twelve (12) species of toads. These different species play vital roles in pest control and food supply to larger animals.

Frogs and toads go through a three-stage metamorphosis, from egg to larvae (tadpole) and then into adulthood. In the tadpole stage, they are usually herbivorous.

They usually hibernate in the winter when it is very cold and some aestivate in the summer when it is very hot. These are preservation techniques involving the animal staying in rest or inactive state for long periods.

In the breeding season, males make use of advertisement calls to attract females. These females respond by meeting them at breeding pools, making a choice and then mating with them.

Water is necessary for breeding as frogs and toads (except tailed frogs) show external fertilization. Eggs and sperm are released into the water and then fertilized there. Afterwards, little or no parental investment is shown.

Some frog species make good household pets because they are not poisonous. On the other hand, most toads release toxins from their skin and so they do not make great pets.

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