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Plains Spadefoot Spea bombifrons


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Plains Spadefoot
credit: Stanley Trauth

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Pelobatidae, Spadefoot Toads view all from this family

Description Round body, short legs. Gray-brown, usually reflecting the color of the soil in their native habitat, white underside. Sometimes light striping on back.Bluish gray on sides of throat on males.

Dimensions 3.8-6.3cm. (1 1/2-2 1/2")

Voice Grating noise, 1-2 second intervals.

Breeding May-August. Begins after rains. 10-200 eggs attached to underwater vegetation. Hatches after 48 hours. Transforms after 2 months. Omnivorous.

Habitat Shortgrass prairies in dry soil in which they can easily dig.

Range Great Plains Montana to Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, through to Mexico.

Discussion Tadpoles transform quickly before water dries up. Nocturnal. Burrows underground, may be up to several feet long. Difficult to spot when hiding amongst soil.