Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

March 24th, 2012. We returned to the Piedmont NWR to check on plants we saw on March 10th and took the same route as on our last trip. We took Starr Road from GA-83 south on through the Oconee National Forest into the NWR. We drove through Tribble Fields to the bridge over Little Falling Creek and then north to Pond 2A. We returned the way we’d come and then took the first road on the right down to the Round Oak – Juliette Rd, drove east and then back into the NWR on the first road on the left. From there we drove north to the intersection with Sugar Hill Road, turned west and forded Stalking Head Creek. We then drove north and took the first road on the right to ford Stalking Head Creek again, east past a small pond and southeast to meet Sugar Hill Road again and then east to GA-11.

While I was wandering around photographing wildflowers, W wandered across the road. After a few minutes he called, ‘You might want to see this.’ I went over to where he was staring into the plants looking for something. ‘It’s either a mouse or a frog.’ We both started searching. It was a frog, or rather, a toad. It had taken cover in the shadows under the plants so we started herding it out into the open. Now, herding frogs/toads is like herding cats. They don’t cooperate but we were lucky.

Anaxyrus fowleri (Fowler’s Toad). It moved out into the open although it still blended into the leafy background.

A closer view.

It didn’t really care for all the attention and hopped off. We corralled it a few feet away. It thought it was escaping by backing down into an opening. Unfortunately for it, the opening was a shallow hole.

Here it’s sitting in the hole.

W picked it up and we were able to take some close ups. It was very patient with us although it does appear to have a slightly disinterested, if not disgruntled, look. After W held it for me to photograph, I held it for him and then we released it back into the weeds. (Since toads may release bufotoxin from the parotid glands, we did make sure to wash our hands after handling it.)

W identified it as a Fowler’s Toad – as opposed to the American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) or the Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris) - based on the location of the parotid glands against the postorbital ridge and the fact that there were three or more warts in the larger dark-pigmented spots. A forth toad, the Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus) occurs in Georgia but is much smaller.

According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), the North American toads have been moved from the genus Bufo to the genus Anaxyrus.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

- WW Knapp, Frogs and Toads of Georgia: Fowler’s Toad (Bufo fowleri)

- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS): Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

Related Posts

- Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge: Atamasco Lily (Zephyranthes atamasco)

- Jasper County, Georgia: Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)

- Jasper County, Georgia: New Life – Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) & Green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

- Piedmont NWR: Flowering Dogwoods (Cornus florida)

- Piedmont NWR: Bulbous Bittercress (Cardamine bulbosa)

- Piedmont NWR: A Wildflower Miscellany


Joy Window said...

The only toads we have in Australia are the (feral and ugly) cane toads. This one is much more attractive, though, as you say, a bit disgruntled looking.

JSK said...

That's interesting Joy. I didn't realize that there were no toads in Australia. My only encounter with a cane toad was at a friends place in Caloundra - and that was in the early days before they grew so large and became such a menace to wildlife and pets.