Ohio Frog and Toad Calling Survey

Northern Leopard Frog

(Rana pipiens pipiens)

Distribution of the Northern Leopard Frog in Ohio.

An adult Northern Leopard Frog.

Species Description:   Adult Northern Leopard Frogs attain a snout-vent length of 5 to 9 cm (2 to 3 1/2 inches).  The background color may be green, brown, or tan.  The belly is always immaculate white.  The dorsolateral folds extend from behind the eye to the groin.  Along the back two or three rows of randomly placed, round or oval, black spots with light borders are present between the dorsolateral folds.  Similar spots are found along the sides and on the snout.  A light line can be seen above the upper jaw.  Males have paired vocal sacs.  
Habitat: Northern Leopard Frogs inhabit wet meadows and vegetated stream and lake margins.  They are also found in agricultural areas.  
Reproductive Activity: Breeding begins in mid March or early April and lasts into May.  The call is a long, groaning snore interspersed with clucks and chuckles.  It is often compared to the sound made by rubbing two inflated balloons together.  
Ohio Distribution: Walker (1946) described the distribution of this species as being state wide but restricted to river valleys in the unglaciated regions.  Today it can be found throughout the state with the notable exception of southeast Ohio.  
Status: Walker (1946) described the Northern Leopard Frog as being one of the most abundant frogs in Ohio.  Today it is still locally abundant but it does appear to be declining where wetlands have been drained.  The range appears to be contracting in the southeastern counties where extensive field efforts have yielded few recent records. 
Photographic Recommendations: Positive identification requires that photographs clearly show the shape of the spots between the dorsolateral folds and those on the snout

Last modified:
Monday, April 11, 2011

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