We used night driving to examine large scale habitat associations of four common desert anurans in Big Bend National Park, Texas. We examined association of soil types and vegetation communities with abundance of Couch's Spadefoots (Scaphiopus couchii), Red-spotted Toads (Bufo punctatus), Texas Toads (Bufo speciosus), and Western Green Toads (Bufo debilis). All four species were disproportionately associated with frequently inundated soils that are relatively high in clay content. Bufo punctatus was associated with rocky soil types more frequently than the other three species. Association between all four species and vegetation types was disproportionate in relation to availability. Bufo debilis and Bufo punctatus were associated with creosote and mixed scrub vegetation. Bufo speciosus and Scaphiopus couchii were associated with mesquite scrub vegetation. Bufo debilis, Scaphiopus couchii, and B. speciosus were more tightly associated with specific habitat types, whereas B. punctatus exhibited a broader distribution across the habitat categories. Examining associations between large-scale habitat categories and species abundance is an important first step in understanding factors that influence species distributions and presence-absence across the landscape.
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Large-scale habitat associations of four desert anurans in Big Bend National Park, Texas