Scaphiopus couchii


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Scaphiopus couchii
Species Authority: Baird, 1854
Common Name(s):
English Couch's Spadefoot
Scaphiopus varius Cope, 1863
Spea laticeps Cope, 1893
Taxonomic Notes: Garcia-Paris et al. (2003) used mtDNA to examine the phylogentic relationships of Pelobatoidea and found that the family Pelobatidae, as previously defined, is not monophyletic (Pelobates is sister to Megophryidae, not to Spea/Scaphiopus). They separated the Pelobatidae into two families: Eurasian spadefoot toads (Pelobates), which retain the name Pelobatidae; and North American spadefoot toads (Scaphiopus, Spea), which make up the revived family Scaphiopodidae.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Georgina Santos-Barrera, Geoffrey Hammerson
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 fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs from southeastern California, southeastern Colorado, and central Oklahoma in the USA, to the tip of Baja California, northern Nayarit, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi and northern Veracruz in Mexico.
Mexico; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In the USA there are hundreds of occurrences of this species, and it is locally common. Large populations still occur in northern Mexico and even in central Mexico where more human populations exist.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species is commonly found in arid and semi-arid shrublands, short grass plains, mesquite savannah, creosote bush desert, thorn forest, cultivated areas, and tropical deciduous forest (Mexico). Like other Pelobatid species it is considered opportunistic since it appears only when rainfalls form temporary pools. Eggs and larvae develop in these temporary pools. It burrows underground or occupies rodent burrows when inactive.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species at present.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Several populations of this species occur in natural protected areas in the USA and Mexico. The populations occurring outside these reserves have been identified as healthy in most of cases.

Citation: Georgina Santos-Barrera, Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Scaphiopus couchii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
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