Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Ted Hoberg
Photo Copyright Ted Hoberg

The plains spadefoot, Spea bombifrons, is a toad native to the plains, grasslands, and deserts of central North America, ranging from Canada to Mexico. In Utah, the plains spadefoot is found only in the southeastern corner of the state. The plains spadefoot is most active at night, but spring and summer rain storms cause the species to become active during the day. Individuals of the species burrow underground during periods of inactivity.

The plains spadefoot eats primarily terrestrial insects. Tadpoles of the species eat plant matter, small invertebrates, and sometimes even other tadpoles. The plains spadefoot breeds in the spring and summer, often in the flooded areas and puddles created by heavy rains. Eggs usually hatch in two days, and tadpoles metamorphose to adults in one to two months.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.