oak toad

(Anaxyrus quercicus)


This species is small, with a length from 3/4-1 5/16 in. (1.9-3.3 cm.). It has a conspicuous light mid-dorsal stripe that may be white, cream, yellow, or orange and 4-5 pairs of spots on the back. It is black or brown in color and the skin is finely roughened with tubercles (small bumps), many of which are red. The male vocal sac is conspicuous when deflated, and looks like a triangular apron, with the point extending backward over the pectoral region. The tadpoles are grayish with 6-7 black saddles on the musculature and with a heavily marked upper tail crest. This species breeds from April to September. The eggs are laid in bars of 2-5 eggs. This species breeds in shallow ponds following heavy rain. The voice is like the peeping of newly hatched chicks, but at close range is extremely loud.


This species is known from six sites in five counties of Virginia’s Coastal Plain from Virginia south through Florida and west to the Mississippi. The oak toad breeds in shallow pools, ditches, and ponds. Habitats used during other seasons are associated with pine or oak savannas with sandy soils. Unique habitat features include vernal pools and freshwater wetlands (pocosins).


The diet is unknown for Virginia, but individuals from Florida and Georgia consumed various terrestrial insects and arthropods.