Southern Leopard Frog - Rana sphenocephala
Description & Identification:
Medium sized, reaching 3.15" (8cm); body is slender. Coloration of back is variable from light brown to dark green with several rows of distinct brown spots (occasionally absent) that are generally smaller than the eye and are not light-bordered; distinct dorsolateral ridges, yellow or gold in color, that extend from the eye nearly to the groin; eye iris is gold; belly and throat are creamy white; snout is pointed; frequently, a light line present along upper jaw and a light spot in center of tympanum.
Eggs are dark above and creamy below; over a thousand are laid in an oblong mass, usually attached to emergent plants or submerged debris; hatch in 4-5 days. Tadpole highly resembles that of the bullfrog; olive green above with distinct dark spots; belly is pinkish; throat creamy; tail has black spots on both fins (bullfrog has dark spots only on upper fin); metamorphose in about 3 months.
Habitat & Behaviors
Found around all types of freshwater habitats and occassionally venturing into slightly brackish coastal marshes; frequently found long distances from the water during periods of heavy rains or in grassy areas when vegetation provides shade and shelter. This frog is commonly used as bass bait and historically was used by scientists and researchers in the laboratory. Additionally, it (along with the cricket frog) is ecologically important as a food item in the diet of many aquatic predators.
Gopher frog has chunky body, rounded snout and dark spots, not in distinct rows.
Mating call somewhat like a chuckle or guttural trill; also, similar to sound of rubbing your finger over a wet balloon; throughout the year, but most active in the winter and early spring (as are chorus frogs and spring peepers).
This frog has been observed at the following locations. Click on the map to view the data.