Wyoming Landscapes - The Mountain Life Zone

The Boreal Toad exists in the high country where winter is long and the growing season short. Consequently, their reproductive cycle demands a strategy that begins early, proceeds rapidly, and ends with enough time to acquire sufficient body reserves to assure survival during the upcoming winter's hibernation. At the upper limits of its distribution, breeding commences as soon as snowmelt has progressed enough to liberate the toad from ... click here for the full excerpt

The Boreal Toad exists in the high country where winter is long and the growing season short. Consequently, their reproductive cycle demands a strategy that begins early, proceeds rapidly, and ends with enough time to acquire sufficient body reserves to assure survival during the upcoming winter's hibernation. At the upper limits of its distribution, breeding commences as soon as snowmelt has progressed enough to liberate the toad from its hibernacula and when ice-off has occurred along the warming northern shores of ponds and the isolated shallow sections of larger lakes.

Though males lack vocal sacs, they do produce a series of chirps which function as a release call when clasped by other males. These vocalizations may be useful to lure females in the nearby vicinity; however, they are probably ineffective invitations at distances greater than 50 yards.

During mating, the male will clasp the female just behind her front limbs (known as axillary amplexus) and above the enlargement in her body containing the eggs. With male passenger clinging to her back, she moves through the shallows releasing her eggs in a long gelatinous string as the male sheds his sperm and fertilizes them. The string will contain 5,000 to 10,000 eggs and be many feet long. To the casual observer happening upon the scene, it might appear as though a kitten had unraveled a ball of yarn.

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