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: 2010
Date Assessed: 2008-12-22
Assessor(s): Geoffrey Hammerson, Georgina Santos-Barrera
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from the Great Plains and southwestern USA and northern Mexico. Southern Manitoba to southeastern Alberta, south to Aguascalientes and San Luis Potosí, Mexico; east to western Minnesota, western Iowa, central Missouri, central Oklahoma, and northern and western Texas; west to central Montana, eastern Wyoming, eastern and south-central Colorado, southeastern California, then north through southern Nevada and Arizona to northern Utah and south to Sonora and northerns and central Sinaloa (see map in Krupa, 1990). It is commonly found up to 1,800m asl, and up to 2,440m asl in Colorado.
Countries occurrence:
Canada; Mexico; United States
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2400
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Its population is widespread. The population trend is unknown but is 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

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 populations. 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).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The range of this species includes several protected areas. Better information on abundance, trends, and threats is needed.

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson, Georgina Santos-Barrera. 2010. Anaxyrus cognatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T54612A11173303. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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