Friday, August 16, 2013

Boreal Toad

The boreal toad is a subspecies of the western toad and found in wet habitats at high altitude (8,000 to 12,000 feet) in south-central Wyoming, through the mountainous regions of Colorado to extreme north-central New Mexico. I have previously done a post on the California toad, also a subspecies of the western toad. Aside from its geographical distribution, it is distinguished by its belly which has a considerable number of dark blotches. They can be gray to green, have considerable dark blotching on the back, have a white middorsal stripe, warty skin and oval parotoid glands. It is an endangered species in Colorado and New Mexico and protected in Wyoming. 
boreal toad - white middorsal strip, warty skins, parotoid glands and dark blotching
I had hiked up to the summit of Mount Yale, outside Buena Vista, Colorado, in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area and was hunting for mushrooms with Judy and Andrew in an area of pine trees right near Denny Creek at well over 10,000 feet in elevation. We found two of the toads hopping through long grass in a swampy area bordering the pine trees. Incidentally, it was also within yards of the area we found the most king bolete mushrooms. 

I had no idea of its status at the time we found them. It looked very similar to the common California toads we find in our area, except that it seemed smaller and gray. 

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