American Toad: A Life CycleJune 2008

The American toad is a particularly warty amphibian that helps one and all by eating bugs.

A full-grown adult is about the size of a man's closed fist; that is, it's substantial. The toad has earth colors, shades of brown and green, as below.

American toad
  I've also come across pale American toads too.
American toad
  American toads live on land (and there are a few in our backyard, in State College, Pennsylvania).

When spring rolls along, however, the toad's life cycle changes. The toads get together in small ponds and fill the area with glorious song.

American toad swimming

Even a spring drizzle did not stop the toads from enjoying amorous adventures.
American toads in love

Less than a week later, the results of the toads' activity were visible in the small pond, which was swarming with countless tadpoles (by the end of April).
Young tadpoles
  By June 1, the tadpoles have transformed from uniform color to definite features and patterns.
Mature tadpoles
  By June 9, the tadpoles have metamorphosed into miniature toads, or toadlets.

Thousands of the American toadlets were hopping across the countryside and looking for a home. Although I've read that newly metamorphosed toads are a half an inch long, these fellows were barely a quarter of an inch long (and could sit comfortably on a dime).

The photo below is about 4 times life size.
An Amerian toadlet
On the other hand, if one takes legs into account, the toadlet would equal a half inch.

A toadlet hop
  And here is a closeup of two of the many American toadlets of 2008.
Closeup of two American toadlets

American toads, I've read, can live up to 10 years in the wild, which gives them plenty of opportunity to grow.

Photography note: The photos were taken with a Pentax *ist D (with the SMC-A* 200mm macro lens for all except the swimming toad, for which I used the SMC 1000mm reflex lens).  

Fowler's toad and American toads in love

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