Anaxyrus californicus


Status: Federally Endangered; CA State Species of Special Concern
Recovery Permit Required for Surveys? No (but is required for handling)
Range: Southern California
Link: USFWS Survey Guidelines

According to CalHerps, “The Arroyo Toad (ARTO) is a plump and stocky toad with dry, uniformly warty skin. It is native to Southwestern California and Baja California. Typically found in washes, arroyos, sandy riverbanks, riparian areas with willows, sycamores, oaks, cottonwoods. They are nocturnally active, remaining underground in the daytime, but occasionally can be seen moving about in daylight or resting at the edge of breeding pools in the breeding season. Arroyo Toads are active from the first substantial rains from January to March, through August or September.” (CalHerps)


Arroyo toads have extremely specialized habitat needs. These include exposed sandy streamsides with stable terraces for burrowing with scattered vegetation for shelter, and areas of quiet water or pools free of predatory fishes with sandy or gravel bottoms without silt for breeding (, 2019).


Calherps has a great, detailed description: “Arroyo toads are greenish, gray, olive, dull brown (above), small to medium sized, plump toads with uniform warts. It has no cranial crests present. Paratoid glands are oval, widely separated, and pale in color toward the front. Pupils are horizontal. No stripe is present down the middle of the back. To read more about the unique lifestyle and characteristics of this animal, please visit – Arroyo Toad.”(CalHerps)


To comply with USFWS for presence/absence surveys, per published survey protocol guidelines, at least 6 surveys must be conducted during the breeding season, which generally occurs from 2 March 15 through July 1, with at least 7 days between surveys. At least one survey shall be conducted per month during April, May, and June. Surveys shall include both daytime and nighttime components conducted within the same 24-hour period (except when arroyo toads have been detected in the survey area). For more details, please read here. (USFWS survey protocol)