Can be distinguished from other Kansas frogs by its rounded snout, moist skin, eyes with vertically slit pupils, raised boss between the eyes, and presence of a cornified black 'spade' at the base of each foot.
No geographic variation has been noted for this species in Kansas.
No other Kansas frog has the spadelike projection on each hind leg, or the large boss between the eyes.
The Plains Spadefoot is found in western Kansas to the edge of the Flint Hills, and east along the floodplina of the Kansas and Missouri rivers. It is seldom encountered except when chorusing or moving (often across roads) during rainy weather. It prefers areas with sandy loose soil.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences)
Atchison (2), Barber (44), Barton (32), Cheyenne (19), Clark (10), Clay (1), Cloud (2), Comanche (22), Cowley (4), Decatur (5), Dickinson (1), Doniphan (1), Douglas (210), Edwards (3), Ellis (116), Ellsworth (1), Finney (67), Ford (3), Geary (2), Gove (1), Graham (17), Grant (4), Gray (10), Greeley (4), Hamilton (6), Harper (16), Harvey (3), Haskell (1), Hodgeman (1), Jefferson (24), Jewell (3), Johnson (4), Kearney (11), Kingman (24), Kiowa (1), Lane (4), Leavenworth (2), Logan (24), Marion (1), Marshall (5), McPherson (15), Meade (80), Mitchell (7), Morton (144), Ness (27), Norton (1), Osborne (5), Ottawa (1), Pawnee (19), Phillips (10), Pottawatomie (15), Pratt (16), Rawlins (1), Reno (65), Rice (9), Riley (32), Rooks (5), Rush (156), Russell (2), Saline (4), Scott (31), Sedgwick (2), Seward (24), Shawnee (1), Sheridan (1), Sherman (53), Stafford (69), Stanton (3), Stevens (7), Sumner (5), Thomas (119), Trego (14), Wabaunsee (1), Wallace (16), Washington (3), Wichita (2), Wyandotte (4)
Following heavy warm mid-Spring rains, the males of this species will leave their burrows and congregate around smaller water filled depression to commence chorusing. Females arrive shortly thereafter, and their eggs are laid and fertilized by the males. Each female will lay her 2,000+ eggs in 10 to 15 masses attached to vegetation. The time from egg to the development of a young froglet varies with the environmental conditions of the pool (temperature, dissolved oxygen, and competition), but transformations are known to occur in as little as one week. Tadpoles, typically eat vegetation in the pools, but as conditions become crowded as the pool slowly dries, the larger individuals will turn canibalistic.
The male Plains Spadefoot's call is loud and harsh, and may carry up to 3 kilometers.
Audio recording by Keith Coleman
Available from Kansas
All manner of small arthropods are consumed by this species.
Growth and Longevity:
KU 20012, Barber County, Claude W. Hibbard, 29 August 1935, 64 mm (2.5 inches), Collins (1993).
Pleistocene fossils of this species have been collected from McPherson and Meade counties.
Not a target species for this project. However, all records will be kept.
1982. Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas, 2nd Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. Pp. 356.
1987. Irwin, K. J. and J. T. Collins. Amphibians and reptiles of Cheyenne Bottoms. Cheyenne Bottoms: an environmental
assessment. Publication of the Kansas Biological Survey and the Kansas Geological Survey, Pp. .
1993. Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. Pp. 397.
1997. Taggart, Travis W. Status of Bufo debilis (Anura: Bufonidae) in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter. (109): pp. 7-12.
2006. Altig, Ronald, Roy W. McDiarmid, Kimberly A. Nichols, and Paul C. Ustach. Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key. Electronic files accessible at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/tadpole/. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA.. : pp. .
2006. Frost, D., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. Bain, A. Haas, C. Haddad, R. De Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. Donnellan, C. Raxworthy, J. Campbell, B. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. Nussbaum, J. Lynch, D. Green & W. Wheeler. The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. (297): pp. 370.
2010. Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas. Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. Pp. 400.