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Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana)
Amphibians Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontanus)

General Description: Great Basin Spadefoots (Spea intermontana) are small, light-colored toads with a single horny scale (the spade) on the heal of each hind foot. The pupils are cat-like (vertical, not round), although they are wide open and appear round at night when caught with a camera flash; other toads have horizontal pupils. Color ranges from gray-brown to reddish-brown and green-brown.

Taxonomy: Order Frogs and Toads (Anura); Family Western Spadefoot Toads (Pelobatidae). Formerly Great Basin Spadefoot (Scaphiopus intermontanus).

Technical Description: Body size to 2.5 in. Dorsal color ashy gray with small warts and small dark spots. Upper eyelid with a dark spot. Glandular boss between the eyes. Horny scale on the heal of the hind foot wedge shaped, black. Pupils vertical (round at night). Teeth in upper jaw. Parotid gland absent.

No more photos -- yet.

Diet: Insects.

Habitat: Sagebrush flats to subalpine (Pine-Fir) forests at about 9,200 ft elevation.

Range: The species occurs in the Great Basin Desert from southern-most British Columbia, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and the east edge of California east across the sagebrush deserts to southern Wyoming and western Colorado.

Breeding: Breeds from spring to summer in temporary and permanent pools of water, often after spring and summer rains. Amplexis is pelvic.

No more photos -- yet.

Similar Species: True toads (Genus Bufo) have horizontal pupils, two round brown tubercles on the hind feet, no teeth, and parotid glands.

Comments: These toads use the spade on their foot to dig burrows (the dig backwards, squirming backwards into the soil) where they stay during dry weather. They remain in burrows at the bottom of dried up pools or washes during dry periods and emerge during heavy rain storms. They respond quickly to the sound of thunder during late-summer storms and breed in pools of water formed after rain or in slow-moving streams.

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 110807

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