Red-spotted Toad
Anaxyrus punctatus

The Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) is a small toad of the rocky hills of the western North America.  Although they are name "red spotted" and "punctatus" (= "spotted"), in the some parts of their range they often lack the red spots and are just a plain tan or olive toad.  In other areas they have bright red spots, and in others they are faintly stippled with red like the one photographed below from Kimble County, Texas.
Red-spotted Toads live in very dry rocky country that doesn't seem very hospitable to a toad.  They are only active on the surface after rain.

Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus)
Kimble County, Texas   June 3, 2013
This species ranges over much of the western 2/3 of the state although it is only locally common until you get into the rocky hills and canyons of the Hill Country and west in the Trans-Pecos.

Red-spotted Toads generally call from rocks or the bank of a small temporary pond which forms after rainfall in their dry rocky habitat.   Their call is a long, high-pitched trilling which is easy to mistake for an insect from a distance.

This is the call of the individual in the photo above:

In the spectrogram for this call we see that the call ascends briefly before reaching plateau at around 2400 Hz.  The call is generally 7-8 seconds or longer.  You can see the complexity of the trill in the spectrogram with several harmonic overtones to the trill.  Calls of other sympatric toads I have recorded (Gulf Coast Toads and Texas Toads) don't show these harmonics.

Here is that same toad in action.  At the beginning of the video, our star is resting but you hear another Red-spotted Toad calling from a few feet away.  A Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius nebulifer) also chimes in with his lower pitched trill before our little toad starts his song.

© Chris Harrison 2013

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