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Species Description

Eastern Spadefoot Toad

Scaphiopus holbrookii


Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Pelobatidae

Description

Gray or brown, with two light stripes on its back extending from its eyes to its lower back. Together, these two stripes appear hourglass shaped. A relatively small toad, ranging in size from 4 - 6 cm (1.75 - 2.25 in).

Life Cycle

This toad lives in sandy, often fairly dry habitats and spends the majority of its time buried in the soil. When heavy rains in the spring and summer soak the soil and form temporary ponds, this triggers the emergence of large numbers of these toads from the ground. Mating and egg-laying take place quickly. Eggs are laid in the shallow, temporary pools; speed of development is variable and is related to the speed with which the pools shrink and dry up. Transformation from egg to tiny toad can occur within as little as two weeks. When growth and transformation are this rapid, the new adults are much smaller than normal. The Spadefoot Toad is carnivorous, and is an opportunistic feeder. It eats insects, earthworms, and other small organisms. It spends the majority of its time buried, emerging to feed at night or under very moist daytime conditions. Its preferred habitats are hardwood and mixed forests and coastal pine forests.

Range

Eastern Spadefoot Toad Region Map The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is found throughout Georgia, particularly where soils are loose and sandy. It is less abundant in northern Georgia than in the southern part of the state, primarily because of unfavorable soil conditions.

Conservation Status

This toad is abundant in areas with sandy soil such as the Coastal Plain and lower Piedmont. Its distribution is scattered variably throughout the rest of the state because of soil type, and is not an indication of decreased populations. This toad is not under any threat at this time.

Similar Species

True toads (Bufo) have warts, paratoid glands and horizontally oval pupils.