Western toad juvenile photographed near Clear Lake in 2017. Click on photo for a larger image.
The Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), also known as the Boreal Toad, is found only infrequently on Quadra Island. It's rated as S4 on the provincial Red Blue List.
According to E-fauna BC, "Western Toads breed in a variety of natural and artificial aquatic habitats, with or without tree or canopy cover, coarse woody debris, or emergent vegetation (Wind and Dupuis, 2002). Although they disperse widely, Wester Toads prefer damp conditions, and will either dig their own burrows, or take shelter in small mammal burrows, beneath logs and within crevices: they hibernate in burrows below the frostline, up to 1.3 metres below ground (BC Ministry of Environment 2009)."
Under "Conservation Concerns," E-fauna BC notes, "There have been significant losses throughout the overall distribution, as populations have declined or been extirpated. Western Toads are explosive breeders, many females laying eggs at same time, which can result in population crashes if breeding sites are subject to random extremes in weather, or harmful anthropogenic activities. The stocking of lakes with game fish is thought to be a major threat to toads, either through larval predation or introduction of non-native pathogens with the fish (Wind and Dupuis, 2002). Toadlets tend to emerge en masse, and dozens or even hundreds of tiny, newly metamorphosed “toadlets” can be found dispersing over an area shortly after emerging from their aquatic tadpole stage. Like any amphibian, toads can experience high mortality on roadways, particularly when these newly metamorphosed toadlets are dispersing. This also makes them more vulnerable to predation. Probably the biggest threat to toads in B.C., as in all amphibians, is habitat loss and fragmentation. The draining and elimination of wetlands has removed breeding sites, and the criss-crossing of natural ranges by roads and other barriers prevents re-establishment of depleted or extirpated populations."
Please help us map the Western Toad's distribution on the Discovery Islands. If you find a Western Toad and have a camera or iphone with you, please photograph it and send us the image along with where and when you found it.