General Anuran Lifecycle Take me Home!

Adult toads live on land most of the time and rely on water for hydration, breeding, and temperature regulation.


Adult toads often mate in the water after summer rains. This mating process is called amplexus. Red-spotted toad females are usually sexually mature at about three years old, while males are already mature enough to mate at about two years old! As the female releases eggs, the eggs are fertilized by the male externally.


The red-spotted toad lays its eggs individually while most anurans lay them in strings or strands. The eggs develop for a period of days to weeks, depending on the water temperature. As the temperature increases, so does the rate of development. Warm water means fast development!


Once the tadpoles hatch, they immediately start feeding on algae. As they get bigger, the tadpoles will eat anything they can fit in their mouths. Some individuals of particular species will even eat each other! Take a look at Scaphiopus or spadefoot toad tadpoles.


As they get older, tadpoles begin to develop legs and lungs and they will reabsorb their tails and gills. They will look more like adult anurans and they will eventually live on dry land.


Toadlets are nearly adults. They have lungs, front and rear legs, but they still have a tail like tadpoles. Toadlets live on land but dehydrate easily.