Sonoran Green Toad (Anaxyrus retiformis)

Photo by Jim Rorabaugh

Sonoran Green Toad, Pima Co., AZ. Photo by Jim Rorabaugh.

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An attractive species that has been called “The jewel of the Sonoran Desert”. In Arizona it can occur in a variety of habitats, including creosote flats, desert grassland, and upland desert. Known from south of Tucson, west to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and north to Maricopa Co. Reaches it greatest numbers in mesquite grassland in the lower Colorado Sub-division of the Sonoran Desert in western Pima Co, where protected on Tohono O’odham land.

With the onset of the summer rains, this species exhibits the typical “explosive” breeding behavior found in most ephemeral desert breeders. Calling wanes after the first night of rain, and usually ends after the third. Unlike many bufonid species, this toad infrequently uses permanent water sources. Instead, it prefers rain filled depressions, ditches and settled arroyos. The advertisement of this toad is a high pitched, buzz like call lasting about 3 seconds. When handled, it can secrete a potent toxin.

Author: Erik F. Enderson

Originally published in the Sonoran Herpetologist 2002 15 (5).

For additional information on this species, please see the following volumes and pages in the Sonoran Herpetologist: 2004 Jul:74-76; 2005 Jul:74-78.


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