Anura Rana sphenocephala -- Southern 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; most individuals with light spot on tympanum; few dark spots on sides; no dark spot on snout; long, pointed head.
Similar Species: Crawfish frog, pickerel frog, northern leopard frog, plains leopard frog.
Description: Medium-sized (5-9 cm SVL) light tan, green, brown, or mixed green and brown frog. Belly and undersides of legs white in life. Continuous pale dorsolateral fold, narrower and whiter than in northern leopard frogs, extends from each eye along back. Back spots, sometimes fused together, rarely have white margins and are mostly smaller than eye. As in other leopard frogs and pickerel frogs, but not crawfish frogs, there is a light line on upper jaw. External vocal pouches of males usually visible at corners of jaws.
Habitat: This is a species of broad ecological tolerance and is found in all sorts of shallow water habitats. In summer, individuals venture away from shorelines and into nearby weed-and-grass-covered fields where they feed.
Natural History: Similar in habits to northern leopard frog. During the late February to mid-April breeding season, male produces breeding calls that sound like a mixed series of chuckles and groans. Female lays 1,000 to 4,000 eggs, and tadpoles transform by late spring/summer. May breed in autumn in southern counties.
Status: Widespread and locally abundant over southern half of state.