Hurter's Spadefoot
(Scaphiopus hurterii)

Hurter's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus hurterii)
Dewitt County, Texas
Hurter's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus hurterii) used to be regarded as a subspecies of the Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrooki).  Hurter's Spadefoot is found west of the Mississippi in Louisiana, Arkansas, and eastern Oklahoma and Texas.

Like all Spadefoots (family Pelobatidae), Hurter's Spadefoot is a fossorial species that only comes to the surface after heavy rains.  They breed explosively after those rains, the tadpoles develop quickly and they burrow down into the soil again until the next rain.

Hurter's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus hurterii)
Brazos County, Texas
Their explosive call can almost lift them out of the water.  Here's a male calling in DeWitt County, Texas -




and here he is in action -







These Hurter's Spadefoot were recorded at the western edge of their range in Wilson County, Texas.  




In this area, their range overlaps with the western Couch's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii).


The calls of the two species are superficially similar in that they are both a nasal "waaahh", but Hurter's Spadefoot call is shorter, given more rapidly and is descending in pitch throughout.  It has almost a "doppler effect" sound.  It almost sounds like someone trying to impersonate the sound of a race car going by very quickly.

Couch's Spadefoot call is slower and ascends before descending.

© Chris Harrison 2013

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