Spadefoot toads are quite common throughout the range of this work Particularly after rains. Three subspecies are found in this range. The most commonly seen is Couch's spadefoot toad.
In the western counties, all three spadefoot species can sonetimes be found in the same area, making identification difficult as there are some variations in coloration and pattern. I have also seen signs of possible species intergradation (see the end of this page.)
There is a common complaint registered by herpers who have picked up spadefoot toads. They exude a secretion which can, and usually does, induce prolonged sneezing. Should you rub your nose after handling these toads, the effects can be quite severe. I once had a sneezing fit which lasted for over an hour after handling several spadefoot toads. Should you rub your eyes, a major irritation can occur.
COUCH'S SPADEFOOT TOAD
The Couch's spadefoot toad is found throughout the western 3/4 of the state. It varies in coloration, but generally has a greenish or yellowish ground color. The tubercle on the hind foot is an elongated comma. Couch's spadefoots can give off the most heart-rending cry when collected.
This Couch's spadefoot was photographed on Black Gap Rd., Brewster County.
PLAINS SPADEFOOT TOAD
In the range of this work, the plains spadefoot is found from the Davis Mountains south through the Big Bend and west through Culberson County. This specimen is from Culberson County.
Notice the raised boss (bump) between the eyes, which is a feature of this species.
SOUTHERN SPADEFOOT TOAD
The southern spadefoot toad is found in all the counties covered by this work.
These photographs are of the same toad under different conditions. It was collected in the Apache Mountains, Culberson County.
This spadefoot was found in Culberson County, in an area where couchi, bombifrons and multiplicatus are all found together. It has no raised boss, as does bombifrons. I have seen others which look like multiplicatus, but have a slightly raised boss between the eyes.
This toad looks somewhat like a couchi, but not quite. It also has a tubercle on the hind leg which is longer than the multiplicatus, but more reduced than on the couchi. If anyone can positively say what it is, I would like to hear from them.