Coconino County, AZ
Metamorph. Coconino Co., AZ
|GREAT BASIN SPADEFOOT Spea intermontana|
DESCRIPTION: To about 2.5 inches in length, the Great Basin spadefoot is usually gray or olive, with reddish-orange glandular dorsal spots, and often an hourglass pattern on its back formed by light streaks. A dark brown spot is usually present on each upper eyelid; and a raised, glandular boss is present between the eyes (the similar Plains Spadefoot has a bony boss between the eyes). The eyes are large and have vertical pupils. It is named for a wedge-shaped, black spade-like structure found on the bottom of each hind foot, which are used to dig burrows. The inner three digits of the forelimbs are darkened in breeding males. Great Basin spadefoots may smell like peanuts when handled. Tadpoles grow to about 2.8 inches, and are gray or gray-brown with a broad, rounded head and eyes positioned high on top of the head.
HABITAT: Great Basin spadefoots inhabit a variety of vegetation communities from Mohave and Great Basin Desertscrub to open coniferous woodlands. Breeds in both permanent as well as ephemeral still or slow-moving waters.
DIET: Great Basin spadefoots eat large numbers of ants, but also beetles, beetle larvae, as well as other insects, arachnids, and snails. The tadpoles are primarily omnivorous - predacious or carnivorous morphs are rarely found.
REMARKS: This species thrives in man-made impoundments, such as cattle tanks, and is tolerant of some other forms of disturbance that create sites and circumstances for standing water during the breeding season, such as flooded pastures or the margins of agriculture. Other species of frogs and toads are typically absent from Great Basin spadefoot breeding sites.
Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
Wright, A.H., and A.A. Wright. 1949. Handbook of frogs and toads of the United States and Canada. Third edition, Comstock Publishing Association, Ithaca, New York.
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