A small, froglike toad with vertical
pupils. On the back of each
, the Eastern Spadefoot has one black spade. Coloring is
variable, often similar to the soil of their habitat
. Spends the
majority of its time buried, emerging to feed
at night or under very
moist daytime conditions.
Many people have reported severe allergic reactions to the skin-gland secretions of the spadefoot. For this reason, thorough handwashing is advised after handling .
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in English:
eastern spadefoot, Eastern Spadefoot Toad
Common Names in Russian:
Species Scaphiopus holbrookii
Size: A relatively small toad, ranging in size from 4 - 6 cm (1.75
- 2.25 in). Color: Gray or brown, with two light stripes
on its back
extending from its eyes to its lower back. Together, these two stripes
appear hourglass shaped. Other things to look for: The most obvious
characteristic of this toad is its eyes, which have vertical
(rather than horizontal ones as in all other Georgia toads) and appear
similar to a cat's eyes. As the name
suggests, the Eastern Spadefoot
Toad has a "spade" on each back foot to help it dig into
. Its body is smooth
compared to bodies of other toads.
The Eastern Spadefoot is the only spadefoot that is found east of the Mississippi River . This species lacks a boss between the eyes like the Plains Spadefoot and the Hurter's Spadefoot. The color is variable from shades of brown, gray, to almost black. They usually have a light yellow line that forms a crude hourglass shape on their back as seen here.
Found in areas of sandy or loose soil within hardwood and mixed forests and coastal pine forests.
Typically found in a lake at a mean distance from sea level of -10.03 meters (-32.91 feet).
Areas of sandy, gravelly, or soft, light soils in wooded or unwooded
terrain. Burrows underground when inactive
and larvae develop
in temporary pools
formed by heavy rains..
List of Habitats :
- 1 Forest
- 1.4 Forest - Temperate
- 3 Shrubland
- 3.4 Shrubland - Temperate
- 4 Grassland
- 4.4 Grassland - Temperate
- 5 Wetlands (inland)
- 5.8 Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
The Spadefoot Toad is carnivorous , and is an opportunistic feeder . It eats insects, earthworms, and other small organisms .
This toad lives in sandy, often fairly dry habitats
and spends the
majority of its time buried in the soil. When heavy rains in the
and summer soak
the soil and form temporary ponds
, this triggers
of large numbers of these toads from the ground
is a low-pitched grunt and is often said to resemble that of
a crow or a bleating sheep.
Mating and egg-laying take place quickly. Eggs are laid in the shallow, temporary pools ; speed of development is variable and is related to the speed with which the pools shrink and dry up. Transformation from egg to tiny toad can occur within as little as two weeks. When growth and transformation are this rapid, the new adults are much smaller than normal.
Most of the time, this species lives in relatively dry regions underground. They remain underground for very long periods of time and can only be sighted after heavy downpours or during wet periods of the summer months (March to September). In dry weather they use the spades on their hing feet to dig in areas with loose soil. The spadefoot is strictly nocturnal .
- Chatton, 1925
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Grobben, 1908
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Zittel, 1879
- Jawed Vertebrates
- Gray, 1825
- Haeckel, 1866
- Rafinesque, 1814
- Order: Anura () - (Fischer von Waldheim, 1813) Gray, 1825
- Superorder: Salientia ()
- Infraclass: Lissamphibia () - Rafinesque, 1814
- Subclass: Lissamphibia () - Haeckel, 1866
- Class: Amphibia () - Gray, 1825
- Superclass: Gnathostomata () - Zittel, 1879 - Jawed Vertebrates
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Superphylum: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - Animals
Rana albus (Garman • Rana holbrookii albus (Garman • Rana holbrookii Harlan
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 01-Sep-2009
Scaphiopus hurterii formerly was regarded as a subspecies of S. holbrookii, but recent checklists (Crother et al. 2000; Collins and Taggart 2002) have treated it as a distinct species. García-Paris et al. (2003) used mtDNA to examine the phylogentic relationships of Pelobatoidea and found that the family Pelobatidae, as previously defined, is not monophyletic (Pelobates is sister to Megophryidae, not to Spea/Scaphiopus). They separated the Pelobatidae into two families: Eurasian spadefoot toads (Pelobates), which retain the name Pelobatidae; and North American spadefoot toads (Scaphiopus, Spea), which make up the revived family Scaphiopodidae..
No other species of frog or toad has vertical pupils.
Members of the genus Scaphiopus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 6 species and subspecies in this genus:
S. couchii (Couch's Spadefoot Toad) · S. couchii couchii (Couch's Spadefoot Toad) · S. holbrookii (Eastern Spadefoot Toad) · S. holbrookii holbrookii (Eastern Spadefoot) · S. holbrookii hurterii (Hurter's Spadefoot) · S. hurterii (Hurters Spadefoot)
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 29, 2008:
- Borror Laboratory of Bioacoustics
- Canadian Museum of Nature: Canadian Museum of Nature Amphibian and Reptile Collection - Anura
- Carnegie Museums: Amphibians and Reptiles
- Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates: Amphibians and Reptiles Collection
- GBIF-Sweden: Herpetology (NRM)
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- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 26123
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-173426
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 2481187
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 173426
- IUCN ID: 240866
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: AAABF01040
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 943
- Standard Deviation = 64.830 based on 40 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Scaphiopus holbrookii. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 04 February 2012. [back]