- Photo: Dan Granger
Red-spotted Toads breed during monsoon season and are readily identified by the piercing trill of their mating calls.
The Red-spotted Toad is smallish (to 3 inches), gray or tan with many red tubercles or warts. Its head is flat with horizontal pupils and round or oval parotoid glands (poisonous) behind the eyes.
The most abundant amphibian in Sabino Canyon, the Red-spotted Toad is almost entirely nocturnal, seeking shelter during the day under rocks and in crevices. It is encountered near temporary or permanent water along rocky creeks, washes, or in cattle tanks as well as in desert scrub and semidesert grassland. This toad eats insects and occasionally young toads.
At Sabino Canyon Red-spotted Toads breed during monsoon season and are readily identified by the piercing trill of their mating calls, described by David Lazaroff as “a noisy orgy the first night that flowing water is restored, continuing into the next morning.” Individual fertilized eggs are laid on the bottoms of pools and creeks and tadpoles usually hatch within several hours. They mature over the next six to eight weeks.
This photograph of toads during amplexus, or mating embrace, was taken at 6:00 am in July 2009 in Lower Sabino above the Bear Bridge.