Anaxyrus cognatus (Say, 1822)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Bufonidae > Genus: Anaxyrus > Species: Anaxyrus cognatus

Bufo cognatus Say In James, 1823, Account Exped. Pittsburgh–Rocky Mts., 2: 55 (Philadelphia edition). Holotype: Originally in "Philadelphia Museum" (which is not ANSP—DRF), according to the original (DRF: This is hard to believe since the Philadelphia Museum was not founded until 1899 unless they received the type in another collection.); apparently destroyed according to Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 43, who discussed the type. Possibly in the MCZ. Type locality: "The alluvial margins of the [Arkansas] river," Prowers County, Colorado, USA. Corrected to "3 miles west of Holly, Prowers County", Colorado, USA by Dundee, 1996, Tulane Stud. Zool. Bot., 30: 83.

Chilophryne cognataCope, 1862, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 14: 358.

Incilius cognatusCope, 1863, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 15: 50.

Bufo lentiginosus cognatusCope, 1875, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 1: 29.

Bufo dipternus Cope, 1879, Am. Nat., 13: 437. Syntypes: ANSP 19769–71, according to Malnate, 1971, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 123: 350; apparently the report of their loss is in error (Smith and Taylor, 1948, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 194: 41). Type locality: "On the plains...of northern Montana ... north of the Missouri river east of Fort Benton". Restricted to "Fort Benton, Chouteau County", Montana, USA by Smith and Taylor, 1950, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 33: 358. Rendered as "North of Missouri River, east of Fort Benton, Chouteau County, Montana", USA by Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 62. Synonymy by Cope, 1886, Proc. Am. Philos. Soc., 23: 516; Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 275; Nieden, 1923, Das Tierreich, 46: 127.

Bufo cognatus cognatusCamp, 1915, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 12: 331, by implication.

Anaxyrus cognatusFrost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, Green, and Wheeler, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 363.

Bufo (Anaxyrus) cognatus — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 299. 

English Names

Texas Toad (Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 23).

Plains Toad (Strecker, 1915, Baylor Univ. Bull., 18: 52; Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 41).

Western Plains Toad (Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: 58).

Say's Toad (Strecker, 1915, Baylor Univ. Bull., 18: 52).

Great Plains Toad (Storer, 1925, Univ. California Publ. Zool., 27: 43; Slevin, 1928, Occas. Pap. California Acad. Sci., 16: 105; Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: ix; Smith, 1934, Am. Midl. Nat., 15: 440; Stebbins, 1951, Amph. W. North Am.: 249; Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 62; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 176; Stebbins, 1966, Field Guide W. North Am. Rept. Amph.: 63; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 312; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 10; Liner, 1994, Herpetol. Circ., 23: 17; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 41; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 11; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 7; Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 215; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 3; Liner and Casas-Andreu, 2008, Herpetol. Circ., 38: 7; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 6; Frost, McDiarmid, Mendelson, and Green, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 12; Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 7).


Great Plains from southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan (Canada) and south east of the Rocky Mountain south through West Texas (USA) to Aguascalients, Durango, Tamaulipas, and western San Luis Potosí (Mexico), west through eastern and southern New Mexico and Arizona into southeastern California (USA) and the adjacent delta region of the Colorado River in Baja California del Norte and Sonora, and then south to the Fuerte valley of northern Sinaloa (Mexico).

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Canada, Mexico, United States of America, United States of America - Arizona, United States of America - California, United States of America - Colorado, United States of America - Iowa, United States of America - Kansas, United States of America - Minnesota, United States of America - Missouri, United States of America - Montana, United States of America - Nebraska, United States of America - Nevada, United States of America - New Mexico, United States of America - North Dakota, United States of America - Oklahoma, United States of America - South Dakota, United States of America - Texas, United States of America - Utah, United States of America - Wyoming


In the Bufo cognatus group of Blair, 1972, Evol. Genus Bufo: 349. Rogers, 1972, Copeia, 1972: 381–383, compared phenetically Bufo cognatus, Bufo compactilis, and Bufo speciosus. Reviewed by Krupa, 1990, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 457: 1–8. Cocroft and Ryan, 1995, Animal Behav., 49: 283–303, discussed advertisement call in an evolutionary context. Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 215, provided a brief account, figure, and map. Graves and Krupa, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 410–404, provided a detailed account with map and conservation status. Farr, Lazcano, and Lavín-Murcio, 2009, Herpetol. Rev., 40: 459–467, provided a record for western Tamaulipas, Mexico. Lemos-Espinal, 2007, Anf. Rept. Chihuahua Mexico: 34–35, provided an account (as Bufo cognatus) for Chihuahua, Mexico.  Lemos-Espinal and Smith, 2007, Anf. Rept. Coahuila México: 37–38, provided an account (as Bufo cognatus) for Coahuila, Mexico. Oliver-López, Woolrich-Piña, and Lemos-Espinal, 2009, Fam. Bufonidae Mex.: 29–32, provided an account for Mexico (although the mapped range in Sonora and the USA, not to mention the potential range, is substantially incorrect—DRF). Lemos-Espinal and Dixon, 2013, Amphibians and Reptiles of San Luis Potosí: 34-35, provided an account for San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Valdes-Lares, Martín-Muñoz de Cote, and Muñiz-Martínez, 2013, Herpetol. Rev., 44: 646, provided new records for Durango, Mexico. Dodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 1: 78–87, provided an account that summarized relevant literature. Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 152–155, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 179, provided an account of larval morphology and biology. Rorabaugh and Lemos-Espinal, 2016, Field Guide Amph. Rept. Sonora: 119–121, provided a detailed account of natural history, morphology, and conservation status in Sonora, Mexico. Lemos-Espinal, Smith, and Valdes-Lares, 2019, Amph. Rept. Durango: 46–47, provided a brief account for Durango, Mexico. Painter, Stuart, Giermakowski, and Pierce, 2017, Western Wildlife, 4: 35, commented on the status and county range in New Mexico, USA. Bassett, 2023, Reptiles & Amphibians, 30(e18486): 1–18, provided an updated county distribution map for Texas, USA.    

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