Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Habitat use and movement of the endangered Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) in coastal southern California

May 21, 2012

Information on the habitat use and movement patterns of Arroyo Toads (Anaxyrus californicus) is limited. The temporal and spatial characteristics of terrestrial habitat use, especially as it relates to upland use in coastal areas of the species' range, are poorly understood. We present analyses of radiotelemetry data from 40 individual adult toads tracked at a single site in coastal southern California from March through November of 2004. We quantify adult Arroyo Toad habitat use and movements and interpret results in the context of their life history. We show concentrated activity by both male and female toads along stream terraces during and after breeding, and, although our fall sample size is low, the continued presence of adult toads in the floodplain through the late fall. Adult toads used open sandy flats with sparse vegetation. Home-range size and movement frequency varied as a function of body mass. Observed spatial patterns of movement and habitat use both during and outside of the breeding period as well as available climatological data suggest that overwintering of toads in floodplain habitats of near-coastal areas of southern California may be more common than previously considered. If adult toads are not migrating out of the floodplain at the close of the breeding season but instead overwinter on stream terraces in near-coastal areas, then current management practices that assume toad absence from floodplain habitats may be leaving adult toads over-wintering on stream terraces vulnerable to human disturbance during a time of year when Arroyo Toad mortality is potentially highest.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Habitat use and movement of the endangered Arroyo Toad (<i>Anaxyrus californicus</i>) in coastal southern California
DOI 10.1670/10-160.1
Authors Elizabeth Gallegos, Lisa M. Lyren, Robert E. Lovich, Milan J. Mitrovich, Robert N. Fisher
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Herpetology
Series Number
Index ID 70006333
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center

Related Content