The Texas toad, scientifically known as Bufo speciosus or Anaxyrus speciosus, is the official state amphibian of Texas. It was named state amphibian in 2009 following the enactment of the 81st Legislature of Texas State. The toad is found in all areas in Texas except the wet parts of East Texas and the western Panhandle.
The Texas toad is a medium-sized toad with a round body. It is 2-3.5 inches long and covered in small warts. The toad is gray with either yellow-green or brown spots. Another common feature is the black tubercles on its hind feet. Unlike many other toads, the Texas toad lacks a back stripe.
Texas toad is a nocturnal amphibian. Consequently, it hides away during the day and becomes active at night. It is a burrowing animal capable of hiding in mud, gopher burrows, deep cracks, and under logs. Texas toads live in open woodlands, areas with sandy soil, grasslands, and mesquite-savanna habitats. During extended periods of dry weather, the Texas toad becomes dormant. This amphibian feeds on insects such as ants, bugs, and beetles.
Reproduction occurs in water pools after heavy rains. The males gather around pools and call to the females. These calls are known as toad trills. The females respond to these calls by heading to the pools where mating takes place. They are attracted by the largest males and the males that call the loudest. After mating, females lay eggs in the water. Hatching takes place in two days. Tadpoles live in the water feeding on algae. They maintain this stage of growth for 18-60 days. Afterward, metamorphosis takes place and they leave the water as young toads.
Why Did The Toad Become The State Amphibian?
The Texas toad was named the state amphibian by an Act of Law. This is likely due to the Texas toads large population in the state. It is one of the most common toads in Texas and the southern United States. Today, the state toad symbolizes the tenacity of Texans in an environment often lacking water and in the harsh sun. Texans survive in this state due to their determination and fighting spirit.
Is The Texas Toad Endangered?
According to the IUCN Red List, the Texas toad is listed under animals of “least concern.” This is due to the large population of Texas toads throughout the southern US. The IUCN has not enumerated any specific threat to the existence of the Texas toads.
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