Ohio Frog and Toad Calling Survey

Southern Leopard Frog

(Rana sphenocephala utricularius)

Distribution of the Southern Leopard Frog in Ohio.

Possible Occurrence
Species Description:   Southern Leopard Frogs attain a snout-vent length of 5 to 9 cm (2 to 3 1/2 inches).  The ground color may be green and/or brown and the belly is white.  The dorsolateral folds extend from behind the eyes to the groin.  Along the back two or three rows of randomly placed, round or oval, black spots are present between the dorsolateral folds.  Unlike the dorsal spots of the Northern Leopard Frog, those of the southern species do not have a light border.  There is no black spot on the snout.  A few similar spots are found along the sides.  A light line can be seen above the upper jaw.  There is usually a distinctive white spot in the center of the tympanic membrane. Males have paired vocal sacs.  
Habitat: Southern Leopard Frogs inhabit meadows, pastures, wooded areas, and a wide variety of aquatic habitats.   
Reproductive Activity: In southern Indiana mating begins in early March (Minton, 1972).  The call is a series of low pitched, guttural notes lasting two to three seconds or an explosive croak.  
Ohio Distribution: Walker (1946) did not list this species as occurring in Ohio.  Pace (1974) and Conant and Collins (1998) show this species' range entering extreme south central Ohio.  Specimens have been collected from Scioto County but may have crossed the Ohio River from northeastern Kentucky.    
Status: A breeding population has never been found in Ohio. Further fieldwork needs to be conducted to confirm this species' existence in the state. 
Photographic Recommendations: Positive identification requires that photographs clearly show the shape of the spots between the dorsolateral folds, and their lack of light borders.  The photograph should also show the absence of a spot on the snout.  A side view should show the light spot on the tympanic membrane.

Last modified:
Saturday, March 26, 2005

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