Factors Limiting the Recovery of Boreal Toads (<i>Bufo b. boreas</i>)

Cynthia Carey, Paul Stephen Corn, Mark S. Jones, Lauren J. Livo, Erin Muths and Charles W. Carey

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI:
Factors Limiting the Recovery of Boreal Toads (Bufo b. boreas)

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Boreal toads (Bufo b. boreas) are widely distributed over much of the mountainous western United States, but extensive population declines occurred in the Southern Rocky Mountains in the late 1970s through early 1980s. Recovery efforts to protect the few remaining populations began in 1995. Many aspects of the life history of these toads, such as clutch size, size at maturity, and wet egg mass, mirror those of low altitude, temperate Bufo. However, environmental factors in the montane environment of these toads, such as short growing seasons and cold nighttime summer temperatures, force changes in other life history characteristics that restrict the ability of boreal toads to recover their original geographic distribution or population sizes. Breeding starts one to three months later than in lowland Bufo in temperate climates, and boreal toads are forced into hibernation one to three months sooner than lowland counterparts. Population recruitment is limited by many factors, including the mortality of larvae that fail to complete metamorphosis before onset of freezing temperatures in fall.

Keywords: Southern Rocky Mountains; boreal toads; Bufo b. boreas; population declines; life history; recovery; metamorphosis; breeding; environmental factors; population recruitment

Chapter.  10260 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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