Anaxyrus fowleri (Hinckley, 1882)

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

Bufo lentiginosus var. fowlerii —Putnam In Cope, 1875, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 1: 29; Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 310. Nomen nudum.

Bufo fowleri Hinckley, 1882, Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., 21: 310. Syntypes: Not stated, but including MCZ 518 (4 specimens), according to Barbour and Loveridge, 1929, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 69: 231. Peters, 1952, Occas. Pap. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 539: 11, regarded UMMZ 50246 as a "cotype" of Bufo lentiginosus fowleri Garman, 1884, rendering the status of this specimen arguable. Kluge, 1983, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 166: 24, noted that none of the MCZ specimens considered previously to be syntypes of Bufo fowleri were actually seen by Hinckley, and he therefore designated UMMZ 50246, as neotype after discussion of the confusion surrounding the authorship of the name. Type locality: "Milton, [Norfolk County,] Mass[achusetts].", USA. Neotype from "United States: Massachusetts: Danverse". Locality of the neotype is "See comments by Myers, 1931, Copeia, 1931: 94–96, regarding the description.

Bufo lentiginosus fowleriGarman, 1884, Bull. Essex Inst., 16: 42, by implication; Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 279.

Bufo fowleriDickerson, 1906, The Frog Book: 93; Bragg and Sanders, 1951, Wasmann J. Biol., 9: 363–373.

Bufo woodhousii fowleriSmith, 1934, Am. Midl. Nat., 15: 456; Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 67.

Bufo compactilis fowleriLinsdale, 1940, Proc. Am. Acad. Arts Sci., 73: 206.

Bufo woodhousii velatus Bragg and Sanders, 1951, Wasmann J. Biol., 9: 366. Holotype: USNM 131869 (formerly O. Sanders 1891), by original designation and Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 38. Type locality: "Elkhart, Anderson County, Texas", USA. Status controversial, may have originated through hybridization with Bufo woodhousii, according to Sullivan, Malmos, and Given, 1996, Copeia, 1996: 274–280, who also noted that this taxon may belong in the synonymy of Bufo woodhousii, or formed through ancient hybridization with Bufo terrestris (according to Volpe, 1959, Am. Midl. Nat., 61: 295–312). See comments under Anaxyrus fowleri and Anaxyrus woodhousii.

Bufo velatusSanders, 1986, Occas. Pap. Strecker Mus., 1: 9; Sanders, 1987, Evol. Hybrid. Spec. N. Am. Indigenous Bufonids: 52. Species status rejected by Collins, 1989, Kansas Herpetol. Soc. Newsl., 78: 19.

Bufo fowleriSanders, 1987, Evol. Hybrid. Spec. N. Am. Indigenous Bufonids: 1–28.

Bufo hobarti Sanders, 1987, Evol. Hybrid. Spec. N. Am. Indigenous Bufonids: 35. Holotype: UIMNH 4574, by original designation. Type locality: "Shades State Park, Montgomery County, Indiana", USA. Synonymy (with Bufo woodhousii sensu lato) by Collins, 1989, Kansas Herpetol. Soc. Newsl., 78: 19.

Anaxyrus fowleriFrost, 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) fowleri — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 302. See comment under Bufonidae regarding how this arrangement is part of a a system that requires widespread paraphyly. 

English Names

Fowler's Toad (Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 23; Dickerson, 1906, The Frog Book: 93; Brimley, 1915, J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc., 30: 7; Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: x; Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 67; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 176; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 310; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 11; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 44; 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; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 3; 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: 8).


USA from eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma north through Missouri and southeastern Iowa to western Michigan (Lower Peninsula), thence east through Pennsylvania to Vermont and New Hampshire; absent from Peninsular Florida and the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Georgia and South Carolina.

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: United States of America, United States of America - Alabama, United States of America - Arkansas, United States of America - Connecticut, United States of America - Delaware, United States of America - District of Columbia, United States of America - Florida, United States of America - Georgia, United States of America - Illinois, United States of America - Indiana, United States of America - Iowa, United States of America - Kentucky, United States of America - Louisiana, United States of America - Maryland, United States of America - Massachusetts, United States of America - Michigan, United States of America - Mississippi, United States of America - Missouri, United States of America - New Hampshire, United States of America - New Jersey, United States of America - New York, United States of America - North Carolina, United States of America - Ohio, United States of America - Oklahoma, United States of America - Pennsylvania, United States of America - Rhode Island, United States of America - South Carolina, United States of America - Tennessee, United States of America - Texas, United States of America - Vermont, United States of America - Virginia, United States of America - West Virginia

Endemic: United States of America


In the Bufo americanus group according to Blair, 1959, Texas J. Sci., 11: 427. The status of Anaxyrus fowleri as distinct from Anaxyrus woodhousii was formerly controversial although at the time of this writing (2002) seems to be generally accepted. See Green, 1996, Israel J. Zool., 42: 95–109, and Sullivan, Malmos, and Given, 1996, Copeia, 1996: 274–280, for discussion of the issue (and Meacham, 1962, Am. Midl. Nat., 67: 282–304, for a presentation of evidence) and delimitation of the species, as well as discussion of advertisement call. Green, 1996, Israel J. Zool., 42: 95–109, provided a lucid discussion of the problem of interspecific hybridization in the Anaxyrus americanus complex and briefly addressed the unfortunate publication by Sanders, 1987, Evol. Hybrid. Spec. N. Am. Indigenous Bufonids, in which Sanders recognized a number of dubiously delimited taxa within the Anayxrus americanus complex (Bufo hobarti which is now in the synonymy of Anayxrus fowleri; Bufo velatus, which now either in the synonymy of Anayxrus woodhousii or Anayxrus fowleri; Bufo copei, which is in the synonymy of Anayxrus americanus, and Bufo planiorum and Bufo antecessor, both of which are in the synonymy of Anayxrus woodhousii woodhousii). None of these names have been formally synonymized as part of any revisionary activity, but neither have they attracted any recognition by those working on the complex (DRF). Masta, Sullivan, Lamb, and Routman, 2002, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 24: 302–314, on the basis of molecular evidence suggested that Anayxrus fowleri is most closely related to (and molecularly paraphyletic with respect to) Anayxrus terrestris, not the closest relative of Anayxrus woodhousii, and together with Anayxrus terrestris forming the sister taxon of Anayxrus americanus plus Anayxrus woodhousii. According to these authors Anayxrus fowleri is composed of three molecularly distinctive populations, which require additional study as to their taxonomic status. Green, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 408–412, provided a detailed account and map, including a discussion of hybrid zones, and conservation status. Barker and Caduto, 1984, Herpetol. Rev., 15: 52–52, provided a record for Vermont. Fontenot, Makowsky, and Chippindale, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 59: 66–80, discussed hybridization with other members of the Anaxyrus americanus group. Dodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 1: 96–113, provided an account that summarized relevant literature, noting hybridization with other members of Anaxyrus, especially with Anaxyrus woodhousii in a wide region from southeastern Kansas, eastern Oklahoma and adjacent Arkansas through East Texas and much of Louisiana, USA. Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 132–133, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 180, provided an account of larval morphology and biology. Guyer and Bailey, 2023, Frogs and Toads of Alabama: 64–67, provided a detailed account (including larval morphology) for Alabama, USA. Bassett, 2023, Reptiles & Amphibians, 30(e18486): 1–18, provided an updated county distribution map for Texas, USA.     

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