Woodhouse's Toad
Anaxyrus woodhousii

Northeast of Fredericksburg, Texas is a narrow little road that loops through some pretty rocky canyon areas.  It is all private land, but it is a pretty drive and very popular during wildflower season.   My interest in the area, of course, is the potential for seeing reptiles and amphibians that are hard to find other areas in the hill country of Texas.

They received 2-3 inches of rain earlier this week so I thought I would make a drive up there to see if I could find some hill country frogs like Strecker's Chorus Frogs or possibly Barking Frogs calling.   I was surprised to find a much more widespread species that I had never seen in the area before - Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii)!

Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii)
Burleson County, Texas
Woodhouse's Toad is a toad of the Great Plains and desert Southwest.  However it does occur into east-central Texas and down into the southern tip of the state.  It's distribution in the eastern 1/3 of the state is very patchy and hard to predict.  I had spent considerable time in this particular area of Central Texas and never seen a Woodhouse's Toad.   On this night I saw 3 and heard one distant calling individual.

Here is the documented range of Woodhouse's Toad (and the closely related Fowler's Toad) in Texas.  You can see that the documented range of Woodhouse's Toad is quite patchy.  In some areas of this range they are very common and in others they are quite rare.  In the Panhandle and West Texas they are not uncommon.  In north(central) Texas they are pretty frequently seen but over most of their range in the middle part of the state they are not encountered very frequently.  This could be a result of the destruction of the Blackland Prairie and similar grassland habitats in these areas.

The recording isn't very good since it was a distance away and I had to filter out several other species (Incilius nebulifer, Lithobates berlandieri, Acris blanchardi) to make the Woodhouse's audible, but it is at least my first Woodhouse's Toad recording and another species off my Texas Recording Lifelist.

The call of the Woodhouse's Toad is a nasal trill.  You can hear it here above the background of the other species.

The call of this species is very similar to the call of its sister species, the Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri).  Fowler's Toad and Woodhouse's Toad used to be considered the same species.

Hopefully I will be able to get a better recording for this species this summer, but for now its off my list of Texas misses at least.

© Chris Harrison 2016

1 comment:

  1. Such a great post. I love the photo and sound recording. Thank you so much for sharing.