American spadefoot toad

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American spadefoot toad
Spea hammondii 1.jpg
Western Spadefoot Toad (Spea hammondii)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Mesobatrachia
Family: Scaphiopodidae
Cope, 1865


Distribution of Scaphiopodidae (in black)
Southern Spadefoot toad, florida-adult

The Scaphiopodidae are a family of American spadefoot toads. They are native to southern Canada and USA south to southern Mexico. The Scaphiopodidae are a small family, comprising only seven species.

The American spadefoot toads are of typical shape to most fossorial (or burrowing) frogs. They are round, with short legs and protruding eyes. As suggested by their name, these frogs have hard, keratinous protrusions present on their feet, which help them to dig. Like most fossorial frogs, they will dig backwards into the ground.[1]

The American spadefoot toads are terrestrial when not under ground. They are dully colored, usually a grey or dull green or brown. This is to aid in camouflage in their arid habitats.


This family was previously included in the European spadefoot toad family, but has been split into two taxa. The Pelobatidae include the Pelobates genus, and Scaphiopodidae the rest.[2]

Spadefoot toads are generally found in arid climates, where they spend the majority of their lives underground, generally beneath perennial ponds, creek beds, or other moisture-retaining areas. During years of sufficient rainfall, the toads surface to breed and lay eggs.


  1. ^ "Scaphiopodidae (Cope, 1865) American Spadefoot Toads". Archived from the original on 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2006-05-12. 
  2. ^ "Amphibian Species of the World - Pelobatidae Bonaparte, 1850". Archived from the original on 15 April 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-12. 

External links[edit]

Data related to Scaphiopodidae at Wikispecies Media related to Scaphiopodidae at Wikimedia Commons