Anura Rana pipiens -- Northern Leopard Frog
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Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characters: Dark spots on back rounded, white margined, and mostly larger than eye; most individuals with dark spot on snout and unspotted tympanum.
Similar Species: Crawfish frog, pickerel frog, plains leopard frog, southern leopard frog.
Description: Medium-sized (5-9.6 cm SVL) green, tan, or brown frog with white belly and undersides of legs. Pale dorsolateral fold from each eye along back; often, additional but less prominent ridges between them. As in other leopard frogs and pickerel frogs, but not crawfish frogs, a light line runs along upper jaw. Vocal pouches at angles of jaws visible when male calls.
Habitat: Streams, ponds, lakes, wet prairies, and other bodies of water, frequently moving into grassy, herbaceous fields or forest borders some distance from permanent water.
Natural History: This strong jumper is difficult to capture during day. Emits startling "warning screams" when jumping into water and, when grabbed, may release urine to discourage potential predator and reduce weight for jumping. Eats a variety of invertebrates. Winter is spent under submerged logs or rocks in small streams or marshes where large numbers may congregate. Breeding call is described as long, deep rattling snore interspersed with clucking grunts. Eggs are laid during March-May and tadpoles transform late June to August.
Status: Local abundance varies year to year. Widespread in northern third of state.