Scaphiopus couchii Baird, 1854

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Scaphiopodidae > Genus: Scaphiopus > Species: Scaphiopus couchii

Scaphiopus couchii Baird, 1854, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 7: 62. Syntypes: Not stated; USNM 3713–15, lost according to Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 21. Type locality: "Coahuila and Tamaulipas", Mexico; rendered as "Rio Nasas [Nazas], Coahuila and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico" by Stejneger and Barbour, 1917, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept.: 25; restricted to "Matamoros, Tamaulipas", Mexico, by Smith and Taylor, 1950, Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull., 33: 345. This restriction considered invalid by Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 260, for reason of not being based on evidence. These authors (p. 259) also regarded the original publication date to be 1856, but see Fox, 1913, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia,, Index, 1812-1912: vii–xiv.

Scaphiopus varius Cope, 1863, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 15: 52. Syntypes: USNM 5893 (3 specimens) according to Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 78. Type locality: "Cape St. Lucas, Lower [= Baja] California [del Sur]", Mexico. Synonymy by Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 434.

Scaphiopus rectifrenis Cope, 1863, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 15: 53. Syntypes: USNM 3714 (also syntype of Scaphiopus couchi; presumed lost) (Coahuila) and 3715 (Tamaulipas). Type localities: "Tamaulipas" and "Coahuila", Mexico. Synonymy by Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 301.

Scaphiopus couchii variusCope, 1867 "1866", Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 18: 313.

Scaphiopus varius variusCope, 1875, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 1: 31.

Scaphiopus varius rectifrenisCope, 1875, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 1: 31.

Scaphiopus couchiiBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 434.

Scaphiopus rectifrenisBoulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 435.

Spea laticeps Cope, 1893, Am. Nat., 27: 155. Holotype: ANSP 13610, according to Malnate, 1971, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 123: 351. Type locality: "between Seymour, in northwest Texas south of the Red River, and Austin", USA. Synonymy by Chrapliwy and Malnate, 1961, Texas J. Sci., 13: 160–162.

Scaphiopus laticepsNieden, 1923, Das Tierreich, 46: 49.

Scaphiopus (Scaphiopus) couchiiTanner, 1939, Great Basin Nat., 1: 6; Dubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 130.

Scaphiopus couchii couchiiSmith and Sanders, 1952, Texas J. Sci., 4: 209.

Scaphiopus couchii rectifrenisSmith and Sanders, 1952, Texas J. Sci., 4: 209.

English Names

Couch's Spade Foot (Scaphiopus couchii: Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 25).

Couch Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii: Stebbins, 1951, Amph. W. North Am.: 197).

Great Plains Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii: Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 58).

Couch's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii: Strecker, 1915, Baylor Univ. Bull., 18: 53; Strecker, 1928, Contr. Baylor Univ. Mus., 16: 8; Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: ix; Tanner, 1939, Great Basin Nat., 1: 10; Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 177; Stebbins, 1966, Field Guide W. North Am. Rept. Amph.: 56; Conant, 1975, Field Guide Rept. Amph. E. Cent. N. Am., Ed. 2: 300; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 13; Liner, 1994, Herpetol. Circ., 23: 28; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 14; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 16; Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 202; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 11; Liner and Casas-Andreu, 2008, Herpetol. Circ., 38: 22; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 9; Frost, McDiarmid, Mendelson, and Green, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 21; Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 20).

Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchi: Kellogg, 1932, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 160: 20; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 96).

Sonoran Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii: Slevin, 1928, Occas. Pap. California Acad. Sci., 16: 87).

Cape St. Lucas Spade Foot (Scaphiopus varius varius [no longer recognized]: Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 25).

Sonora Spade Foot (Scaphiopus varius rectifrenis [no longer recognized]: Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 25).


Southeastern California to southeastern Colorado and southwestern Oklahoma (USA) and south along the coast through Sonora and Sinaloa to northern Nayarit and along the central plateau to Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, northern México, Hidalgo, and northern Veracruz (Mexico).


Reviewed by Wasserman, 1970, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 85: 1–4. Grismer, 2002, Amph. Rept. Baja California: 82–84, provided an account for the Baja California, Mexico, population. Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 202–203, provided a brief account, figure, and map. Lemos-Espinal, 2007, Anf. Rept. Chihuahua Mexico: 63, provided an account for Chihuahua, Mexico. Lemos-Espinal and Smith, 2007, Anf. Rept. Coahuila México: 55, provided an account for Coahuila, Mexico. Dodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 2 : 753–760, provided an account that summarized relevant literature. Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 262–266, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 248–249, provided an account of larval morphology and biology. Lemos-Espinal and Smith, 2015, Check List, 11(1642): 1–11, noted the occurrence of the species in Hidalgo, Mexico, without providing a specific locality. Lemos-Espinal, Smith, and Valdes-Lares, 2019, Amph. Rept. Durango: 81–82, provided a brief account for Durango, Mexico. Lemos-Espinal and Dixon, 2016, Amph. Rept. Hidalgo: 399–400, provided a brief account and map for Hidalgo, Mexico. Hernandez, Herr, Stevens, Cork, Medina-Nava, Vialpando, Warfel, Fields, Brodie, and Graham, 2019, Check List, 15: 81, provided records for Manuel Benavides and Ojinaga municipalities, north-eastern Chihuahua, Mexico.  

External links:

Please note: these links will take you to external websites not affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History. We are not responsible for their content.