Arizona Aquatic Wildlife
Stormwater pollution entering our streams, rivers, and lakes can have a harmful effect on Arizona’s aquatic wildlife.
Each month, we will feature a different aquatic species native to Arizona and found within Maricopa County. This month, learn about:
Western Narrow-Mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea)
The Western Narrow-Mouthed Toad is small
(.75 – 1.5 inches in length) and oval-shaped. The small head is pointed to assist in burrowing. The legs are short and lack webbing
between the toes. These toads vary in color from olive-brown, tan, or gray with dark spots.
In Maricopa County, the Western Narrow-Mouthed Toad can be found in the Vekol Valley and the Tohono O’odham Nation,
in the southern part of the County. They inhabit valleys within Sonoran Desertscrub and can be found in moist, deep crevices or burrows,
which they typically share with tarantulas, lizards or rodents and under rocks, wood or other debris near water. Outside of the summer
monsoon season, they remain dormant in underground burrows.
Western Narrow-Mouthed Toads will eat a variety of small invertebrates, but mainly feed on ants, termites, or small
beetles. Breeding is brought on by rainfall, during the summer monsoon from June to September. They develop quickly, from egg to toad
in 24-50 days, taking advantage of the limited moisture and returning to underground burrows before temporary water sources dry up.
When handled, Western Narrow-Mouthed Toads secrete a toxin that can cause severe nasal reactions or burning of the
eyes. The toxin appears to kill other amphibians and may be used as a defensive mechanism.
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