More Red-Spotted Toads
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I’m going to feature some more images of Red-spotted Toads tonight. These are photos that I took last Thursday evening over at Sabino Canyon.
I find these little amphibians to be utterly fascinating and more than a bit mysterious. You almost never see them in daylight. These are mostly creatures of the night. At Sabino, on a wet and rainy night, they were everywhere: on the canyon’s paved roads, out in the desert, even in the parking lot. I saw dozens of them. Some of these locations are a mile or so from Sabino Creek and yet, the literature is adamant that these small toads are creatures of streams and waterways.
Go figure. I can’t explain their ubiquitous presence at substantial distances from any body of water, but yet, there they were. They were particularly visible last week on the canyon’s roadways. In a few locations I couldn’t walk more than 20 feet without encountering one or more of these animals.
Interestingly, they definitely breed in streams and apparently, only one night a year. Sabino Creek, which had been dry nearly all summer long, began running again right around August 1. And, the next day, in certain locations, there were Red-Spotted Toads mating in the creek. They were gone the following evening, their reproduction evidently finished. So, if they don’t need to be in or next to water to forage, they certainly need it to procreate.
I find these toads to be extremely attractive and more than a bit cute.
They are not toxic, unlike the much bigger Sonoran Desert Toad. As is apparent from my photographs they come in beautiful colors. Most of them are covered with red spots, but their skin may have yellow and orange pigments as well. I particularly like these little toads’ eyes. The irises are a deep burnt orange.
There is considerable color variation among individual members of the species. This third individual, for example, has relatively few red spots on its body and its skin is a uniform buff color. Some of the literature speculates that the toads’ pigment reflects their habitat, with paler colored individuals living among pale rocks. That may be so, but I found all three of the individuals depicted here in the same location out in the desert. They were within 50 feet of each other and yet, they vary considerably in color.
Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180 f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 125, f13 @ 1/160.