CaliforniaHerps.com

A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians




Sounds of
Western Spadefoot - Spea hammondii

(Baird, 1859 “1857”)
Click the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.
Male frogs and toads sometimes make a variety of sounds. These calls can have different functions.


Advertisement Calls

The advertisement call is the most well-known call of a frog or toad. It is made by a male during the breeding season to establish his territory and repel rival males and to attract females as potential mates. Males usually make the call in or near bodies of water near areas that are attractive to a female as a good place to lay her eggs. Advertisement calls can be heard during the evening and at night, and often during daylight at the peak of the breeding season. Sometimes an advertisement call will be heard outside of the breeding season and away from water. The reason for this is not understood.

Each species has its own unique advertisement call. This is necessary to differentiate them when there is more than one species calling. The evolution of this specific male advertisement call and its recognition by females is considered to be an important isolating mechanism in the evolution of a species.


The call of the Western Spadefoot is a short loud trill, like a quick snore, lasting less than one second. Males call at night while floating on the water, often in large aggregations.


The following recordings were made at night in early March at shallow rain pools (shown below in daylight) in Butte County on a very windy night. Sierran Treefrogs, wind, and suburban sounds are heard in the background.

Sound Sound
This is a 1 second recording of the advertisement calls of a single male Western Spadefoot.

This is a 22 second recording of the advertisement calls of several male Western Spadefoots.
Sound  
This is a 23 second recording of the advertisement calls of a male Western Spadefoot.
Western Spadefoot Habitat Western Spadefoot Habitat
Night calling location in daylight, Butte County

Night calling location in daylight, Butte County
The following recordings were made at night in mid March at a distance of 200 - 300 ft. from a creek flowing through Alameda and San Joaquin Counties. Sierran Treefrogs are heard in the background. Beside the creek were rain pools. Some of the locations are shown below in daylight.

Sound Sound
This is a 61 second recording the advertisement calls of a large group of Western Spadefoots made in San Joaquin County.

This is a 25 second recording the advertisement calls of a small group of Western Spadefoots made in San Joaquin County.
Sound Sound
This is a 60 second recording the advertisement calls of a small group of Western Spadefoots made in Alameda County. Along with the Sierran Treefrogs, a Western Toad can be heard calling in the background. This is a 60 second recording the advertisement calls of a small group of Western Spadefoots made in Alameda County.
Western Spadefoot Habitat Western Spadefoot Habitat
Eggs and amplexing spadefoots were found in this slow creek in San Joaqin County near the location where calling was recorded.

Tadpoles and eggs were found in this rain pool in Alameda
County at the location where calling was recorded.
Waveform and Sonogram
Sound sonogram
This is a recording of a single advertisement call of a Western Spadefoot recorded at night in Butte County.

The image on the right is a visual representation of this call.

Click on it to see a larger image.

Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.


You can listen to more recordings of Western Spadefoots on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast - Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology

cd cover

and on the cd that comes with this book:

Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson - The Frogs and Toads of North America - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

book cover


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