Southwest Reptiles and Amphibians

Plains Spadefoot - Spea bombifrons

(Cope, 1863)
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observation link

  Adult, Cochise County, Arizona  
  Adult, Cochise County, Arizona

Tadpoles and recently-metamorphosed terrestrial juveniles
The following spadefoot tadpoles and metamorphs were photographed at several locations in Cochise County, Arizona, where Spea multiplicata and Spea bombifrons both occur. These spadefoots could be either species. I cannot positively identify them at such a young age and small size, other than saying that most likely they are not Scaphiopus couchii, so I will just say that these pictures probably include individuals of both species of Spea.

Breeding pool, Cochise County, Arizona, shown on two consecutive days - evaporation happens quickly when there is no rain. Shallow breeding pool in August (full of tadpoles) Cochise County, Arizona. (Same location as shown to the left, 5 years earlier.)
Breeding habitat, Cochise County, Arizona Breeding pool, Hidalgo County,
New Mexico
The same breeding pool location seen to the left in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, 2 months later.
  Breeding habitat, Hidalgo County,
New Mexico

Short Videos
Spadefoot tadpoles (either Spea bombifrons or Spea multiplicata) in a rain pool in Cochise County, Arizona metamorphose into tiny tailed spadefoots and move onto land as the pool quickly drys up. (Shown over a period of about one week.) Spadefoot tadpoles swim around in a small aquarium. Cochise County, Arizona.

These were tentatively identified as Spea bombifrons, but there is a chance they could also be Spea multiplicata (stagnalis.)
A tiny recently-metamorphosed spadefoot (either Spea bombifrons or Spea multiplicata) which has not yet absorbed its tail hops around next to its dessicating breeding pool with a predator attached to its tail (probably a water scavenger beetle larva.) Cochise County, Arizona.

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