- (Hinckley, 1882)
Other English Common Names: Fowler's toad
Bufo fowleri Hinckley, 1882
;Bufo woodhousii fowleri Hinckley, 1882
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s):
Anaxyrus fowleri (Hinckley, 1882) (TSN 773520)
French Common Names: crapaud de Fowler
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102732
Element Code: AAABB01210
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates
- Frogs and Toads
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference: Sullivan, B. K., K. B. Malmos, and M. F. Given. 1996. Systematics of the Bufo woodhousii complex (Anura: Bufonidae): advertisement call variation. Copeia 1996:274-280.
Concept Reference Code: A96SUL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Bufo fowleri
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly included in Bufo woodhousii. Sullivan et al. (1996) examined advertisement call variation and concluded that B. fowleri should be recognized as a distinct species and that subspecies australis and woodhousii should continue to be regarded as western forms of the B. woodhousii complex.
Hybridizes with Bufo americanus in some areas (Green and Parent 2003).
Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 01Apr2002
Global Status Last Changed: 11Oct2001
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in eastern North America; large area of occupancy; high abundance; many stable populations; no major threats.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5
National Status: N2
U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S5), Connecticut (S4), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S5), Florida (S4), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S3), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (SNR), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S4), Michigan (S5), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S5), New Hampshire (S3), New Jersey (S3), New York (S4), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S4?), Pennsylvania (S3S4), Rhode Island (S3), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Texas (SNR), Vermont (S1), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5)
Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) Schedule 1/Annexe 1 Status: E
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Endangered
Comments on COSEWIC: Designated Special Concern in April 1986. Status re-examined and designated Threatened in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in November 2000. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in April 2010.
This species only occurs on sandy beaches in three disjunct areas along the north shore of Lake Erie. It has disappeared from numerous historic sites on the Lake Erie shore and continues to decline in abundance and number of populations with further habitat loss and degradation due to invasive species (Common Reed, Zebra Mussels) and anthropogenic activities including shoreline development, beach cleaning, construction of breakwalls, bulldozing of beaches, vehicle use on beaches and agricultural and industrial contaminants. In addition, a Population Viability Analysis (PVA) model suggests that over the last decade, the probability of extirpation within 20 years has increased substantially.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors
Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Fowler's toad occurs throughout most of the eastern United States and the northern shore of Lake Erie in Canada, from southeastern Iowa to southern New Hampshire, and south to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and northern Florida (Conant and Collins 1991). It is absent from northern New England and the Florida peninsula.
Number of Occurrences:
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range.
Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000.
Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Locally threatened by various kinds of habitat destruction and degradation.
Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: See Green (1986 COSEWIC report) for information on Canadian populations (locally common but local declines noted).
Long-term Trend Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, unknown level of decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences, but better information is needed for Mexico.
Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.
Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information
(200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles))
Fowler's toad occurs throughout most of the eastern United States and the northern shore of Lake Erie in Canada, from southeastern Iowa to southern New Hampshire, and south to eastern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and northern Florida (Conant and Collins 1991). It is absent from northern New England and the Florida peninsula.
U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations
U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WV
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted.
For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.
Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004
U.S. Distribution by County
||County Name (FIPS Code)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed
||Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
Middle Connecticut (01080201)+
Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+,
Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+,
Lower Delaware (02040202)+,
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
General Description: The upper surface is brown, grayish, or rarely greenish or red, with a pattern of large dark blotches, the largest of which contain 3 or more warts. Usually there is a light stripe along the middle of the back. The hard ridges behind the eyes contact the patotoid glands (large glandular swellings behind the eyes). The parotoid glands are about twice as long as wide. Maximum snout-vent length is around 3.8 inches (9.5 cm); females grow much larger than males. Mature male can be recognized during breeding season by their dark throat and dark patches present on the inner surfaces of thefirst and second toes of the front feet. The male's expanded vocal sac is spherical or slightly elongated. Breeding calls are loud waaaaaah sounds lasting about 1-4 seconds and emitted up to several times per minute. Larvae are dark brown to black and often mottled. The eyes are positioned high on the head. The fins are mainly clear with sparse pigment flecks, with more in the upper fin than in the lower. Larvae reach a maximum total length up to around 1.1 inches (2.7 cm). Eggs are black above, tan below, 1.0-1.5 mm in diameter; they are deposited in long strings in a single jelly envelope, with single or double row of eggs in each jelly string.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding occurs in spring or summer (timing varies geographically), often after heavy rains. Male breeding choruses may last a few weeks. Individual females lay clutches of thousands of eggs in long strings. Larvae hatch within about a week and metamorphose into tiny toadlets in 1-2 months. Individuals become sexually mature in 2 years in Indiana (Breden 1988); 2 (males) to 3 (females) years in Connecticut (Clark 1975, Can. J. Zool. 52:1489-1498). At Long Point, Ontario, among 53 mature males, 14 were one year old, 25 were two years old, 13 were three years old, and 1 was 4 years old; possibly some one-year-old females were mature (Kellner and Green 1995, J. Herpetol. 29:485-489).
Ecology Comments: This and other toads have toxic skin secretions that help protect them from predation, but skunks and raccoons often eat them without ill effect by avoiding the skin and parotid glands. Hognose snakes (Heterodon) are immune to the toxins and swallow toads whole.
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates up to several hundred meters between breeding pools and adjacent nonbreeding terrestrial habitats.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, Pool
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Fowler's toads inhabit wooded areas, river valleys, and floodplains, including agricultural and residential areas, usually in areas with deep friable soils, up to at least several hundred meters from breeding sites. During cold weather or drought, they burrow underground or hide under rocks, plants, or other cover. Breeding sites include shallow water of marshes, rain pools, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, flooded areas, and other bodies of water lacking a strong current.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Metamorphosed toads eat mainly various small terrestrial arthropods. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: These toads are inactive during the cold months of fall, winter, and early spring. Most activity is nocturnal, but daytime activity is not uncommon.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Not yet assessed
Not yet assessed
Group Name: Bufonid Toads
Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Breeding Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy major highway such that toads rarely if ever cross successfully; roads with nonpermeable barriers to toad movement; urbanized areas dominated by buildings and pavement.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Opportunistic observations of various toad species in lowland habitats indicate regular movements of up to at least several hundred meters from the closest known breeding site (G. Hammerson, pers. obs.). Sweet (1993) recorded movements of up to 1 km in Bufo californicus. In defining critical habitat for B. californicus, USFWS (2000) included breeding streams and upland areas within a 25-m elevational range of each essential stream reach and no more than 1.5 km away from the stream. In northwestern Utah, Thompson (2004) recorded movements of Bufo boreas of up to 5 km across upland habitat between two springs during the summer-fall season. Another toad moved 1.3 km between May of one year and May of the next year; the following June it was back at the original breeding location (Thompson 2004). Most studies of toad movements have not employed radiotelemetry and were not designed to detect long-range movements or dispersal.
The separation distance for unsuitable habitat reflects the nominal minimum value of 1 km. The separation distance for suitable habitat reflects the good vagility of toads, their ability to utilize ephemeral or newly created breeding sites, and the consequent likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent truly independent populations over the long term.
Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Author: Hammerson, G.
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.
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"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."
Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."
Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."
NOTE: Full metadata
for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
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