Anaxyrus speciosus (Girard, 1854)

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

Bufo speciosus Girard, 1854, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 7: 86. Syntypes: USNM 2608 (Ringgold Barracks = Rio Grande City, Starr County, Texas, USA), 2610 (Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas, USA), 2611 and 131559 (Pesquiería Grande, Nuevo León, Mexico) according to Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 37. Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 46, mentions only three types and does not include 131559. Type locality: "valley of the Río Bravo (Rio Grand del Norte) and to be not uncommon in the province [state] of New Leon [Nuevo León, Mexico]". Restricted to "Brownsville, Cameron County", Texas, USA, by Smith and Taylor, 1950, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 33: 361.

Bufo spectabilisPeters, 1874 "1873", Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1873: 747. Incorrect subsequent spelling of Bufo speciosus Girard.

Bufo lentiginosus speciosusGarman, 1884, Bull. Essex Inst., 16: 43, by implication.

Bufo speciosusGarman, 1888 "1887", Bull. Essex Inst., 19: 136; Bogert, 1960, in Lanyon and Tavolga (eds.), Anim. Sound Commun.: 195, 273; provisional elevation.

Bufo compactilis speciosusCope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 273; Smith, 1947, Herpetologica, 4: 8.

Bufo pliocompactilis Wilson, 1968, Contr. Mus. Paleontol. Univ. Michigan, 22: 95. Holotype: UMMP V55430, a near complete left frontoparietal, by original designation. Type locality: WaKeeney, Ogalalla Formation, Trego County, Kansas, USA. [Miocene (Clarendonian) fossil.] A likely synonym of "Bufo compactilis" (in the sense of being what is now called Anaxyrus speciosus) by Sanchíz, 1998, Handb. Palaeoherpetol., 4: 126.

Anaxyrus speciosusFrost, 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) speciosus — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 308. See comment under Bufonidae regarding how this arrangement is part of a a system that requires widespread paraphyly. 

English Names

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

Spadefoot Toad (as Bufo compactilis sensu lato: Strecker, 1915, Baylor Univ. Bull., 18: 51; Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: x).

Spade-footed Toad (as Bufo compactilis sensu lato: Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: 60).

Sonoran Toad (as Bufo compactilis sensu lato: Slevin, 1928, Occas. Pap. California Acad. Sci., 16: 97).

Sonoran Toad (Stebbins, 1951, Amph. W. North Am.: 255).

Northern Sonora Toad (Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 62).

Texas Toad (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: 313; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 11; Liner, 1994, Herpetol. Circ., 23: 17; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 43; 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: 8; Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 215; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 4; Liner and Casas-Andreu, 2008, Herpetol. Circ., 38: 8; 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: 13; Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 9).


Southeastern New Mexico and western Oklahoma (USA) south throughout central and West Texas to central Tamaulipas, northern Nuevo León, northern and eastern Coahuila, and northeastern Chihuahua (Mexico).

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Mexico, United States of America, United States of America - New Mexico, United States of America - Oklahoma, United States of America - Texas


In the Bufo cognatus group of Blair, 1972, Evol. Genus Bufo: 349. See comment under Bufo cognatus. Older literature confused this species with Anayxrus cognatus, Anayxrus mexicanus, and Anayxrus compactilis. Removed from the synonymy of Anayxrus compactilis (as Bufo) by Bogert, 1960, in Lanyon and Tavolga (eds.), Anim. Sound Commun.: 195, 273, where it had been placed (as Bufo spectabilis) by Peters, 1874 "1873", Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1873: 747 (although this had been disputed by Garman, 1888 "1887", Bull. Essex Inst., 19: 136). See Rogers, 1972, Copeia, 1972: 381–383, for discussion of morphological distinctiveness from other members of its species group. 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: 215–216, provided a brief account, figure, and map. Lemos-Espinal, 2007, Anf. Rept. Chihuahua Mexico: 41–42, provided an account (as Bufo speciosus) for Chihuahua, Mexico. Lemos-Espinal and Smith, 2007, Anf. Rept. Coahuila México: 38–39, provided an account (as Bufo speciosus) for Coahuila, Mexico. Oliver-López, Woolrich-Piña, and Lemos-Espinal, 2009, Fam. Bufonidae Mex.: 48–50, provided an account. Farr, Lazcano, and Lavín-Murcio, 2013, Herpetol. Rev., 44: 633, provided records for Tamaulipas, Mexico. Dayton and Painter, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 435–436, andDodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 1: 152–155, provided accounts that summarized relevant literature. Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 146–147, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 184, provided an account of larval morphology and biology. 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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