Leopard Frog

Rana sphenocephala
Southern Leopard Frog

NPS Photo

Family: Ranidae

Rana sphenocephala

Southern Leopard Frog

Size: 5.1 to 12.7 cm long (2" to 5")

General Description: Skin green to brown in color. Large dark spots on back between light dorsolateral ridges that are continuous to groin. Light stripe along upper jaw. Slender, narrow head. Large tympanum, often with light spot in the center.

Similar Species: Pickerel Frog, R. palustris, has square shaped dark spots and bright yellow or orange coloration on the concealed portion of hind legs. Gopher Frogs, R. capito, have more rounded snouts and fatter, chunkier bodies. Range is one of the best distinctions between this and other Leopard Frogs (Northern, Plains and Rio Grande Leopard Frogs; R. pipiens, R. blairi, R. berlandieri, respectively), however where ranges overlap characteristics of the other species should be checked.

Reproduction: Breeds year-round.

Habitat: Uses moist vegetation near a freshwater source during the summer. May be found near freshwater marshes, streams, ponds or brackish marshes the rest of the year.

Behavior: Primarily nocturnal. Evades predators by diving into water and making a sharp turn before surfacing amid vegetation near water's edge.

Voice: Call is described as a series of short throaty croaks or a short guttural trill that sounds chuckle-like. The trill pulse rate is typically fewer than 13 per second. Males may call while floating in water or from land.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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