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eastern narrow-mouthed toad

eastern narrow-mouthed toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) [state threatened]
Photo © Brad M. Glorioso

Features and Behaviors

The eastern narrow-mouthed toad averages three-fourths to one and one-fourth inches in length. It is small and plump with short limbs, a pointed head and a fold of skin across the back of the head. This fold of skin may be moved forward across the eyes. The male has a dark throat, while the female has a light throat. The body is gray, brown or red, and the belly has heavy mottling. An external eardrum is absent in this species. The tadpole has a sucking disc rather than teeth and jaws.

The eastern narrow-mouthed toad may be found in southwestern Illinois. This amphibian lives in rotten stumps, under rocks, under bark and in the margins of water bodies along Mississippi River bluffs. It hides by day and is active at night. When moving, it runs more than hops to escape danger. It breeds in midsummer in ponds, swamps, lakes and ditches. The male’s call is like the bleat of a lamb. The female produces about 850 eggs in a small surface film on the water. Eggs have a flat surface instead of being perfectly spherical. Hatching occurs in a few days with transformation from 20 to 70 days later. The eastern narrow-mouthed toad eats insects, especially ants.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Microhylidae

Illinois Status: threatened, native