Red-spotted toad

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Red-spotted toad
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Anaxyrus
Genus: Bufo
Species: B. punctatus
Binomial name
Bufo punctatus
Baird & Girard, 1852

Anaxyrus punctatus

The red-spotted toad (Bufo punctatus) is a small toad species growing to 3.7 to 7.5 centimeters in length. It has a flattened head and body, and a light grey, olive or reddish brown dorsum with reddish or orange skin glands. It has a whitish or buff venter with or without faint dark spotting, and round parotoid glands. Its snout is pointed.

A red-spotted toad in the Patagonia Mountains of southeastern Arizona.

The juvenile looks similar to the adult, but has more prominent ventral spotting and the undersides of its feet are yellow. The male red-spotted toad has a dusky throat and develops nuptial pads during the breeding season.

This toad is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, especially Baja California. It occurs primarily along rocky streams and riverbeds, often in arid or semi-arid regions. It is very localized on the coastal slope, but widespread in the deserts. In dry areas it needs seasonal pools or even temporary rain puddles to use for breeding. Eggs hatch in three days and the tadpole can transform in 6-8 weeks, taking advantage of the ephemeral water bodies. It spends dry periods in burrows or beneath rocks or moist plant matter, and becomes suddenly active during rainfall when multitudes of individuals emerge.[1]

It may hybridize with the western toad (Bufo boreas) in some locations, although this needs confirmation. It is docile and easily handled with little or no skin gland secretions.


  • Pauly, G. B., D. M. Hillis, and D. C. Cannatella. (2004) The history of a Nearctic colonization: Molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of the Nearctic toads (Bufo). Evolution 58: 2517–2535.
  • Hammerson & Santos-Barrera (2004). Bufo punctatus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes a range map and a brief justification of why this species is of least concern
  • This article is based on a description from "A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Coastal Southern California", Robert N. Fisher and Ted J. Case, USGS,
  1. ^ Grismer, L. L. (2002). Amphibians and Reptiles of Baja California. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 71.