Evidence From Biology – January 6
The Couch’s spadefoot toad of the Sonoran Desert is an example of how God takes care of creatures under extreme conditions. This toad lies dormant in the hot desert eleven out of twelve months each year. It has built-in sensors that tell it when a violent desert rainstorm occurs. The toad can detect vibrations of pounding rain miles away. It somehow knows to emerge from the sand when it rains so that the male toads can call for females as soon as pools of water form. Shortly afterwards the egg-laying is completed and the toads return to the sand, safe from the heat of the burning daytime sun. Most of the time the desert pools rapidly dry up, killing the eggs. Only under ideal conditions will some of the eggs hatch nine days later. The young toads have at most a few weeks to eat enough food to survive before burying themselves in the sand for the next eleven months while awaiting the another rainstorm.
Such survival instincts and mechanisms were probably not required before the Fall, when the world was designed as a paradise. In the current world, with its severe climates, such instincts and abilities seem to have been specifically designed for animals such as the spadefoot toad. How could this ability to adjust to such harsh weather conditions have evolved? Unless all of the abilities, instincts, and timing of the toads’ reproductive cycle were in place, the toads could never have survived the first severe season.
The wild animals honor me…because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland… (Isaiah 43:20)
From A Closer Look at the Evidence, by the Kleiss’
(Typed by Phyllis)
The Couch’s Spadefoot Toad, (Scaphiopus couchii) is a species of North American spadefoot toad native to the southwestern United States and the Baja region of Mexico. The epithet couchii is in honor of American naturalist Darius Nash Couch, who collected the first specimen while on a personal expedition to northern Mexico to collect plant, mineral and animal specimens for the Smithsonian Institution.
These toads can be found throughout the Sonoran Desert, including Arizona. How can you tell the species? True toads have horizontal pupils but the spadefoots have vertical pupils (like cats). Look at the sole of a hind foot. There you’ll find the hard, dark “spade” that gives a spadefoot its name. There are only two spadefoot species in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and California. If the space is sickleshaped, it’s Couch’s spadefoot, Scaphiopus couchi. If the spade is rounded, it’s the western spadefoot, Scaphiopus hammondii(called the southern spadefoot, Scaphiopus multiplicatus, in some field guides).
Incidentally, the spades really are digging tools–spadefoots use them to burrow backward into the soil.
Once you’ve finished checking the animal, gently put it down where you caught it–it has important things to do–then wash your hands thoroughly in the water. Amphibian skin secretions can be quite toxic; they probably won’t affect your hands, but you won’t want to get them in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Spadefoots live for the monsoon. They spend the rest of the year underground awaiting their wake-up call: the drumming of raindrops on the soil during a summer thunderstorm. As soon as the males dig out they go looking for rain pools, and when they find them they broadcast the news loudly as they can. The chorus draws silent female spadefoots from far and wide.
Mating is an urgent matter for spadefoots. Their tadpoles must hatch, grow, and change into toadlets before the pool evaporates in the summer sun. That’s why they do most of their mating the first night the pool forms. Couch’s spadefoot toadlets sometimes leave the puddle only nine days after the eggs are laid! Western spadefoots take longer–at least three weeks.
The warmth of the water speeds up the tadpoles’ growth. Meanwhile they devour everything even remotely edible. They scrape algae off rocks. They filter microorganisms from the water as they pump it over their gills. They gather in wriggling masses, stir up the muck on the bottom of the pond, and filter that. And unlike most tadpoles, which are exclusively herbivores and filter-feeders, spadefoot tadpoles are omnivores. They also eat dead insects and tadpoles, and” more.
Couch’s Spadefoot Toad by LA Zoo