California dreaming

the tale of the arroyo toad

The Arroyo Toad, also known as the Arroyo Southwestern Toad, is native to South Western California and North Baja California, Mexico. However, they have disappeared from almost 65% to 76% of their former range. Read more in Habitat below.

The arroyo toad is a small (2 to 3 inches) Light greenish gray or tan toad with warty skin and dark spots. Its underside is buff colored and often without spots. It has a light-colored stripe crosses the head and eyelids, and a light area usually occurs on each sacral hump and in the middle of the back. Its movement consists of hopping rather than walking.


Info Graphic - on 6 of the 22 groups contain a dozen adults

life cycle

Annual reproduction occurs between March and July and is dependent on the availability of shallow, still or low-flow pools in which breeding, egg-laying and larval development occur.

Females produce a single clutch of eggs each year.

Following fertilization, tadpoles emerge at 12– 20 days and persist in breeding pools for 65–85 days.

A) adult, B) newly hatched larvae, C) maturing larva, D) newly metamorphosed juvenile.


This species inhabits washes, streams, and arroyos, and adjacent uplands (in desert and shrubland). It is also found on sandy banks in riparian woodlands (willow, cottonwood, sycamore, and/or coast live oak) in California.

It is also found along rivers that have shallow gravelly pools adjacent to sandy terraces (USFWS, 1993).  Adults obtain shelter by burrowing into sandy soil.

The present distribution of B. californicus is considerably smaller than it once was.

The species has disappeared from an estimated 65% to 76% of its former range in California (USFWS-Ventura, 2014).

Current River Basin Occurrences of Arroyo Toads in the U.S. and Baja California, Mexico. (USFWS-Ventura, 2014).

perfect habitat

Sespe Wilderness
James Molden takes habitat photos for Arroyo Toad surveys in Santa Ysabel Creek.


Loss and Degradation of Habitat

Invasive Species
  • Bullfrogs
  • Crayfish
  • Green sunfish
Invasive Plants
  • Tamarisk
  • Giant reed
Off-road Vehicles

Climate Change