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Posts Tagged ‘Anaxyrus americanus americanus’

I usually think of seeing toads on dry land, but when it’s breeding time, they head to shallow pools of water. These Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus americanus) were swimming around this past Friday at Huntley Meadows Park in Northern Virginia.

Some of the toads were graceful swimmers, effortlessly skimming across the water. Others, however, seemed to have problems coordinating the actions of their limbs and floundered and splashed around a lot. The toads seemed to use a variety of strokes, though almost all of them used a variant of the frog kick with their rear legs.

How did the frogs get the naming rights for the kick? It could just as easily have been the “toad kick.” Perhaps marketing is a bit more difficult when you have as many warts as the average toad.

Eastern American Toad

Eastern American Toad

Eastern American Toad

Eastern American Toad

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The marsh at Huntley Meadows Park is alive with the sound of frogs and toads—it’s the start of the breeding season.

Yesterday, I captured this shot of an Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus americanus) as he was calling out to females. It’s amazing how long the toad is able to hold that long, high-pitched trill, as much as 20 to 30 seconds according to the Virginia Herpetological Society.

His expanded pouch (officially called a dewlap) reminds me of my childhood days, when I would attempt to blow large bubbles with the ever present bright pink bubble gum. One of my favorite gums was called Bazooka and the individually wrapped pieces of gum included a comic strip starring Bazooka Joe. (For more information about Bazooka, check out this Wikipedia article.)

I’ve decided I want to call this little guy Bazooka Joe and my unofficial name for the Eastern American Toad is the Bubble Gum Toad. As a side note, fellow photographer and blogger Walter Sanford has given nicknames to several of my lenses and he calls my Tamron 150-600mm lens Bazooka Joe. This, of course, is more a reference to the anti-tank rocket launcher than to the bubble gum—the size and length of the lens brings to mind a bazooka. (If you are not familiar with this weapon, check out this Wikipedia article.)

In case you are curious, I captured this image of Bazooka Joe with Bazooka Joe.

Eastern American Toad

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It had been years (and maybe even decades) since I had last seen a toad and somehow I had forgotten that they have lots of warts and bumps, unlike the smooth-skinned frogs that I am used to seeing.

I encountered this brown toad, which I think is an Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus americanus), at a garden in Maryland. According to Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources, there are only two types of true toads in the state, so my changes of being correct are pretty good. The other toad is a Fowler’s Toad.

Apparently, you can distinguish between the two types by the number of warts per dark spot on their backs. Maybe you can tell them apart—I wouldn’t even know where to start counting.

toad_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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