Anaxyrus cognatus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Bufonidae

Scientific Name: Anaxyrus cognatus
Species Authority: (Say in James, 1823)
Common Name(s):
English Great Plains Toad
Bufo cognatus Say, 1823
Bufo cognatus Say, 1823
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2015. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. New York, USA. Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-08-25
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): García Aguayo, A., Hammerson, G.A. & Santos-Barrera, G.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Rivera Téllez, E., Sharp, D., Hobin, L. & Ramírez, R.
Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of sub-populations and localities, large population size and use of a wide range of habitats.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is widespread in much of central and southwestern USA (western Minnesota, western Iowa, central Missouri, central Oklahoma, northern and western Texas, central Montana, eastern Wyoming, eastern and south-central Colorado, southeastern California, southern Nevada, southern Arizona and northern Utah) and northern Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Nuevo León). The range extends as far north as southern Manitoba and southeastern Alberta, Canada. Elevational range extends from sea level up to 2,440 m asl (in Colorado; Hammerson 1999). Its extent of occurrence is 5,165,915 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan); Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas); United States (California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wyoming)
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2440
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population size is unknown but very large. The population trend is unknown but probably stable to slightly declining.
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits deserts, grasslands, semi-desert shrublands, open floodplains, and agricultural areas, typically in stream valleys. It burrows underground when inactive. It breeds in rain pools, flooded areas, and ponds and reservoirs that fluctuate in size. Eggs and larvae develop in shallow water (usually clear).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: No

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is offered online at about $13 USD in USA websites, but this does not constitute a significant threat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is not threatened overall. It uses some cultivated areas successfully, but extensive-intensive farming eliminates or reduces local sub-populations. It experiences mortality as a result of road traffic, especially when roads are in close proximity to wetlands (COSEWIC 2010). Breeding sites are typically the result of heavy rains and hence not generally subject to loss via water projects. In fact, this toad often breeds in reservoir edges. Suburban sprawl has eliminated breeding and non-breeding habitats in areas adjacent to growing cities in Colorado (Hammerson 1999). In Mexico it can be threatened by land use change due to urbanization (G. Santos, pers. comm. Red List Workshop, June 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
The range of this species includes several protected areas in USA and Mexico, which is believed to provide protection for 11-20% of the population.  

Research Needed
More information on abundance, trends, and threats is needed.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Anaxyrus cognatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T54612A53949260. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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