Lowland Leopard Frog
The lowland leopard frog (Rana yavapaiensis) is a native frog that depends on desert waters. It has declined in the Desert Southwest and is considered a species of special conservation concern. In the Sonoran Desert, lowland leopard frogs live in places with permanent water, such as canyon pools and streams. They breed year-round, and tadpoles take a year or more to reach adulthood. This small frog (1.8–3.4 in) is tan, brown, and light green to bright green. It typically has large dark spots on its back but no spots on the head in front of the eyes. Its underside is yellowish. Adults eat mostly insects and other invertebrates. Tadpoles feed on algae and other plant tissue.
Lowland leopard frogs are an indicator species of ecosystem health, and measures to protect them will benefit the many other animals that rely on desert water sources. It is illegal to collect lowland leopard frogs in Arizona without a permit for scientific collection or similar purpose.
Conservation status: Species of Concern
Threats: Introduction of non-native frogs and fishes (in particular predatory fish, crayfish, and American bullfrogs), habitat alteration, population isolation, toxicants, disease, parasites