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Observations on the Ecology and Natural History of Anura. II. Habits, Habitat, and Breeding of Bufo woodhousii woodhousii (Girard) in Oklahoma

Arthur N. Bragg
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 24, No. 2 (Sep., 1940), pp. 306-321
DOI: 10.2307/2420932
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2420932
Page Count: 16
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Observations on the Ecology and Natural History of Anura. II. Habits, Habitat, and Breeding of Bufo woodhousii woodhousii (Girard) in Oklahoma
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Abstract

Bufo woodhousii woodhousii (Girard) inhabits the central plains and mountains from Nebraska to Texas and from Arkansas to southwestern California. In Oklahoma, it inhabits all areas possible to a toad in all parts of the state except the northeast and southeast. It is especially abundant in sandy areas and in lowlying bottom lands and it is the only toad found on the sandy flood plains of most, if not all, of the larger streams. It is the common toad under street-lights and about gardens and lawns but is not so numerous in the eastern third of Oklahoma as elsewhere in the state. It is one of the most active and versatile of toads. Not much is known about the factors which tend to limit the numbers of this species. The larvae are probably preyed upon by tadpoles of Scaphiopus and by aquatic insects and possibly by other carnivorous animals. The known predators of adults include snakes (of several species), bull-frogs, and hawks. Many are killed by automobiles. These toads breed in a great variety of places (cattle-tanks, ditches, flooded fields, back-washes of streams, artificial fish-pools, edges of small semipermanent artificial lakes, and sloughs on the flood plains of rivers). They are not known to use buffalo wallows and their general versatility and adaptability to conditions make this hard to explain. They seem to prefer shallow water for breeding but have been known to produce eggs in water at least three feet deep. They seem to prefer muddy water but will use clear water at times. Within any one season, the breeding activities are staggered--that is, not all individuals breed at the same time even under favorable conditions. They are not dependent upon rain for breeding although most breeding activity does occur after rains in spring or summer. Congresses of this species are usually small and each male acts more or less individualistically, calling or not according to some inner urge, quite unlike B. cognatus. Metamorphosis occurs at a total length of about 30 mm. after a tadpole period of from 34 to 45 days, dependent upon both temperature and food supply. The food of the larvae is Algae and organic debris of either plant or animal origin. The young toads are spotted dorsally in two colors on a grayish brown background. The larger spots are dark colored and of medium size; the smaller are tiny and red, like the peppering on young B. cognatus. The young toads are active and alert. They feed upon small insects and arachnids and may grow at a rate of 0.3 mm. (i.e., about 3% increase) a day. Some become half grown during the first summer and, in this respect, resemble B. cognatus.

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