A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians

Sounds of
Red-spotted Toad - Anaxyrus punctatus

Baird and Girard, 1852)

(= Bufo punctatus)
Click the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.

Red-spotted Toad
Male calling at night

Red-spotted Toad Habitat
Distant view of desert
oasis breeding habitat

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 Red-spotted Toad is a prolonged loud high-pitched musical trill, lasting up to 10 seconds, which is produced at night .

Sound  This is a 9 second recording of a toad calling at night while floating on the water of a small artificial desert pond (shown on the right) in San Diego County.

Sound   This is a 17 second recording of a series of two calls from the previous toad.
          Several calls of Pseudacris cadaverina - California Treefrog are heard in the second half.
Red-spotted Toad Habitat
Sound    This is a 28 second recording of the nocturnal advertisement calls of a few male Red-spotted toads calling from a small rain pool in Pima County, Arizona in August (shown on the right). Crickets can be heard in the background.
Red-spotted Toad Habitat
Sound   This is a very short recording of one call from a single toad at a small rain pool in Pima County, Arizona.
Canyon Treefrog habitat
Sound   This is a 2:27 recording of several close and distant toads calling at night from isolated pools in a canyon bottom in Yavapai County, Arizona (shown on the right.) The distant echoes of braying wild donkeys, bird sounds, and Lowland Leopard Frogs can be heard in the backgound.

Sound  This is a 23 second recording of two close toads calling at night from isolated pools in a canyon bottom in Yavapai County, Arizona (shown on the right.)
Red-spotted Toad Habitat

  This is a 41 second recording of a group of toads calling at night in Brewster County, Texas near the Rio Grande River.

Waveform and Sonogram
Sound   This is a recording of one repetition of the advertisement call of a Red-spotted Toad recorded at night in San Diego County.
The image above 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.

Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male toad or an unreceptive female toad when a male toad or other animal gets on its back and grabs its sides in the position used for mating or amplexus. It's a toad's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!"

  This is a 14 second recording of the release calls made by a male Red-spotted toad from Pima County, Arizona, as it was grasped across the back.

Short Videos
  Red-spotted Toad Red-spotted Toad  
  A male Red-spotted Toad calls at night in San Diego County. California Treefrogs are calling in the background.

One call of a Red-spotted toad at night in San Diego County.  

You can listen to more recordings of Red-spotted Toads on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast

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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