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Comprehensive Description

    Anaxyrus fowleri
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    Fowler's toad in leaf litter

    Fowler's toad (Anaxyrus fowleri, formerly Bufo fowleri ) is a species of toad in the family Bufonidae. The species is native to North America, where it occurs in much of the eastern United States and parts of adjacent Canada.[1][2] It was previously considered a subspecies of Woodhouse's toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii, formerly Bufo woodhousii ).[2][3]

    Etymology

    The specific name, fowleri, is in honor of naturalist Samuel Page Fowler (1800–1888) from Massachusetts, who was a founder of the Essex County Natural History Society, which later became the Essex Institute.[4]

    Description

    Fowler's toad is usually brown, grey, olive green and rust red in color with darkened warty spots. If the toad has a pale stripe on its back it is an adult. The belly is usually uniformly whitish except for one dark spot. The male may be darker in overall color than the female.

    The adult toad is typically 5 to 9.5 cm (2.0 to 3.7 in) in head-body length. The tadpole is oval with a long tail and upper and lower fins, and is 1 to 1.4 cm (0.39 to 0.55 in) long.

    Reproduction

    Fowler's toad reproduces in warmer seasons of the year, especially in May and June. It breeds in open, shallow waters such as ponds, lakeshores, and marshes. The male produces a call which attracts not only females, but also other males. The calling male may attempt to mate with one of the other males, which will then produce a chirping "release call", informing him of his mistake. When he finds a female, the pair will initiate amplexus and up to 7,000 to 10,000 eggs are fertilized. They hatch in 2 to 7 days. Based on observations, Fowler's toads breed repeatedly through the spring.[citation needed] As many as 10 different age classes, separated by several days, have been observed over the course of a breeding season in one small pond. A new tadpole may reach sexual maturity in one season, but the process may take up to three years.

    Behavior

    Predators of Fowler's toad include snakes, birds, and small mammals. It uses defensive coloration to blend into its surroundings. It also secretes a noxious compound from the warts on its back. The secretion is distasteful to predators and can be lethal to small mammals. The toad is also known to play dead.

    Habitat

    Fowler's toad lives in open woodlands, sand prairies, meadows, and beaches. It burrows into the ground during hot, dry periods and during the winter.

    Diet

    The adult Fowler's toad eats insects and other small terrestrial invertebrates, but avoids earthworms, unlike its close relative, the American toad (Anaxyrus americanus). The tadpole scrapes algae and bacterial mats from rocks and plants using the tooth-like structures in its mouth.

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    In Missouri Ozarks

    Conservation status

    An important conservation measure for Fowler's toad is the protection of its breeding sites. Off-road vehicles commonly used in beach and dune habitats are damaging to this species. Agricultural chemicals have caused declines in some areas. It is considered a species at risk in Ontario.[3]

    References

    1. ^ a b IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (2015). "Anaxyrus fowleri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2015: e.T54640A56844200. Retrieved 3 January 2016..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
    2. ^ a b c Frost, Darrel R. (2015). "Anaxyrus fowleri (Hinckley, 1882)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
    3. ^ a b Fowler's Toad. Archived September 13, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Natural Resources Canada.
    4. ^ Dodd, C. Kenneth. (2013). Frogs of the United States and Canada. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1,032 pp. (in two volumes). ISBN 978-1421406336.

    Description
    provided by AmphibiaWeb text

    Anaxyrus fowleri is an abundant toad of relatively small size, ranging from 2.00-3.75 inches SVL. While this species usually displays an immaculate venter, many specimens have been observed to have a single dark spot on the chest. Characteristically, this species has a light-colored middorsal stripe, coupled with a brown or gray dorsal surface, though some individuals may have a green or reddish dorsal surface. In general, A. fowleri characteristically displays at least three of the following characteristics: tibia with no greatly enlarged warts, no spots on the chest or belly, the largest dark spots containing at least three warts, and a parotoid gland that borders the cranial ridge (Conant and Collins 1991).

    Similar species may be distinguished by the following features: 1) the American Toad displays no more than 2 warts in dark regions coupled with a spotted chest; 2) the Gulf Coast Toad possesses a prominent dark stripe instead of the light colored stripe observed in A. fowleri; and, 3) the posterior region of the cranial crest of the Southern Toad displays pronounced knobs.

    The species was named after an early Massachusetts naturalist, S. P. Fowler.

Distribution

    Distribution and Habitat
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    A. fowleri is abundant along the coastal plain from Long Island to North Carolina. Moving inland from the coast, sandy regions near lakes and river valleys provide an ample habitat for the species. Following periods of long drought, A. fowleri may be observed in large numbers in regions normally not associated with the species via the onset of warm, heavy rains. The toad is not observed in Florida and southern regions of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, but may range from central New England to western Michigan. This species may also be found in northwest regions of Arkansas and eastern Louisiana (Conant and Collins 1991).

    Distribution
    provided by Animal Diversity Web

    Anaxyrus fowleri is a toad commonly found in areas of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Its range consists of New Hampshire to eastern Texas, eastern Arkansas, Missouri, and southeastern Iowa, eastward into Michigan through Ohio, and West Virginia to the Atlantic coast. Extensions include up the Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Ohio, and other rivers and into southern Ontario, along Lake Erie.

    Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

Morphology

    Morphology
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    Anaxyrus fowleri comes from the order Anura which are animals noted for having a toothless jaw and enlarged parotoid glands behind the eyes. They are usually brown, gray, or olive green in color and have black edged dark spots on its back, with a light middorsal stripe. In each of the dark spots there are found to be three or more warts. The belly is usually whitish and almost completely unspotted. Males are often found to be darker in color while females are found to be lighter. Anaxyrus fowleri is noted for having a single dark spot on its otherwise spotless belly. Its body measures between 5 to 9.5 centimeters in length. Anaxyrus fowleri tadpoles have a short oval body and a long tail with an upper and lower fin. Their size is 1 to 1.4 centimeters long.(Wright, 1949 and Collins, 1991)

    Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Habitat

    Habitat
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    Anaxyrus fowleri prefers to live in open woodlands, sand prairies, meadows, and beaches. They like to burrow into the ground during hot, dry periods and in the wintertime.(Harding 1992 and Harding 1997)

    Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; forest

Trophic Strategy

    Trophic Strategy
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    The adults eat insects and other small terrestrial invertebrates, but shy away from earthworms, unlike their close relative, Bufo americanus. As a tadpole, Anaxyrus fowleri use their mouth, which is rimmed with tooth-like structures, to scrape attached algae from rocks and plants. The tadpoles are also known to feed on bacteria and other organic material from the water.(Harding, 1997)

Life Cycle

    Life Cycle
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    Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

Reproduction

    Reproduction
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    Anaxyrus fowleri is known to reproduce in warmer seasons of the year, usually between the months of May and June. Breeding sites are located in shallow waters that are very open, including farm ponds, lake edges, marshes, and woodland ponds. Breeding habits of Anaxyrus fowleri are very similar to Bufo americanus. The male will migrate to the breeding sites where he will begin calling his mate in intervals that can last up to thirty seconds. The call often attracts both male and females which will cause mistaken identities in the breeding process. This mistake occurs when one male tries to mate with another male. Fortunately, the first male will realize the mistake right away because the other male will let out a chirping release call that informs the first one of his mistake. When the male finally meets his mate, the male will try to clasp the female from behind. From this position the male can fertilize up to 7,000-10,000 eggs. Fertilization is external. The eggs are known to hatch in two to seven days. The tadpoles will begin to undergo the change into tiny toads thirty to forty days later. In one growing season, Anaxyrus fowleri may grow to sexual maturity, but slower growing individuals may take up to three years before they reach their sexual peak.(Harding, 1992 and Harding, 1997)

    Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Conservation Status

    Conservation Status
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    Protection of the breeding sites for Anaxyrus fowleri is very important to their existence. Off-road vehicles that are commonly used in beach and dune habitats are damaging to this species. Also, the use of agricultural chemicals share in the blame for the decline of Anaxyrus fowleri in some areas. They are considered a species at risk in Ontario.

    US Federal List: no special status

    CITES: no special status

    State of Michigan List: no special status

    IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

Trends

    Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
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    The vocalizations of Fowler's Toad may last from 1-4 seconds. The mating season lasts from the spring months to mid-August. Hybridization can occur with other species, and the calls of hybrid males are difficult to identify (Conant and Collins 1991).

Benefits

    Benefits
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    Anaxyrus fowleri is useful to have in gardens because it eats many insects and other small invertebrates.

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