Notaden nichollsi (Desert Spadefoot Toad)
Size range: Males to 58 mm & females to 65 mm long.
Description: These are medium-sized squat frogs. They are usually pale brown with numerous yellow and red warts arranged in rough rows. Their belly is pale, their limbs are short, their fingers are unwebbed and their toes are slightly webbed. Their ear (or typmpanum) is hard to see.
Habitat: This species is quite common throughout their preferred open grassland habitats. They are usually found at night, especially after rain in flooded shrublands. They feed principally on ants and inhabit the dry north-western part of South Australia.
Call description: Their call is a loud 'whooping' sound.
Breeding behaviour: During the dry season they spend half the year underground encased in a cocoon of their own skin. They have been dug from burrows at depths of more than one metre. Once the heavy rains start, they will break from their cocoon and climb up to the surface to feed and breed. They breed in temporary ponds, especially desert claypans. They deposit their eggs in large chains draped amongst submerged vegetation. As this species is only present on the surface for the breeding season, their tadpoles can complete metamorphosis in as little as 30 days.
Interesting facts: This species occurs across the SA border in Western Australia, Queensland & the Northern Territory. There is suitable habitat present and it was reportedly heard calling in the late 1980s near the Stuart Highway near Marla but not confirmed. It is, therefore, likely that the Desert Spadefoot Toad occurs in the northern regions of SA. Given the remoteness of this area, the fact that they are only active at night, and only present on the surface after heavy rains for breeding, they may well go undetected unless efforts are made to find them after rainfall events in the arid north.