Southern leopard frog

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Southern leopard frog
Lithobates sphenocephalus UMFS 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae
Genus: Lithobates
Species: L. sphenocephalus
Binomial name
Lithobates sphenocephalus
(Cope, 1889)
Synonyms
  • Rana sphenocephala Cope, 1886
  • Rana halecina
    Holbrook, 1842
  • Rana halecina sphenocephala
    Cope, 1886[2]
  • Rana utricularia sphenocephala
    Pace, 1974

The southern leopard frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus[1][3] or Rana sphenocephala[4][5]) is a species of true frog. It is native to the eastern United States from Kansas to New York to Florida. It is also an introduced species in some areas.[1]

Description[edit]

This frog is up to 13 centimeters long. It is green or brown in color with a yellowish ridge along each side of the back. There are rounded dark spots on the back and sides. There is a light spot on each eardrum. The male has larger forelimbs than the female. The breeding male has vocal sacs that are spherical when inflated. The call is described as a "ratchetlike trill",[6] "chuckling croak",[7] or a "squeaky balloon-like sound".[8]

The larva is mottled, and the eyes are positioned on the top of the head. It grows to 7.6 centimeters in length before maturing. The female lays an egg mass that is "baseball-sized" when close to hatching time, and contains up to 1500 eggs.[6]

Ecology and behavior[edit]

This frog lives in many types of shallow freshwater habitat and sometimes slightly brackish water. It is usually found close to water but it can stay on dry land for long periods of time.[7] During warmer months it moves away from the water for most of the time.[9] It is mostly nocturnal,[9] but it can be active during the day and the night, especially during rainfall. It breeds in the winter and spring, and sometimes in the fall; heavy periods of rainfall trigger breeding.[7] The egg mass is connected to aquatic vegetation.[8] It may nest communally.[9] Eggs hatch in 4 days to nearly two weeks.[9] The tadpoles take 50 to 75 days to develop to adulthood.[9]

In northern parts of its range it is dormant during the winter months, during which time it remains in well-oxygenated, unfrozen water bodies.[9]

Range[edit]

This frog is widespread across the eastern United States, especially the southeast. It is the most common frog in Florida and in several other regions. It is an introduced species in the Bahamas.[1] There are also introduced populations in Southern California, well established in the Prado Flood Control Basin.[9]

Subspecies[edit]

There are two subspecies:[9]

  • Lithobates sphenocephala sphenocephala – Florida Leopard Frog
  • Lithobates sphenocephala utricularia – Southern Leopard Frog

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2014. Lithobates sphenocephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014. Downloaded on 16 June 2016.
  2. ^ Stejneger, L.H. and T. Barbour. (1917). A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.[page needed]
  3. ^ Frost, D.-R.; et al. (2009). "Response to the Point Of View of Gregory B. Pauly, David M. Hillis, and David C. Cannatella, by the Anuran Subcommittee of the SSRA/HL/ASIH Scientific and Standard English Names List". Herpetologica 65 (2). doi:10.1655/09-009R1.1. 
  4. ^ Hillis & Wilcox (2005), Hillis (2007), Stuart (2008), Pauly et al. (2009), AmphibiaWeb (2016)
  5. ^ Yuan, Z.-Y.; et al. (2016). "Spatiotemporal diversification of the true frogs (genus Rana): A historical framework for a widely studied group of model organisms.". Systematic Biology. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syw055. 
  6. ^ a b NatureServe. 2015. Lithobates sphenocephalus. NatureServe Explorer Version 7.1. Accessed 15 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Norman, C. Southern Leopard Frog (Rana (Lithobates) sphenocephala). Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. University of Georgia.
  8. ^ a b Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus). Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. University of Florida.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Lithobates sphenocephalus – Southern Leopard Frog. California Herps.

Further reading[edit]