Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Iowa

Frogs and Toads of Iowa

If you are looking to identify a specific frog and can’t figure it out from the page, you can check my Frog Identification and see how to contact me about helping you out.

Frogs

True Frog Family – Ranidae

Common Name: Crawfish Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana areolatus
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Crawfish Frog gets its name from living in crawfish holes. Its has skin folds on the side and a small tympanum. It also has a pair of vocal sacs for calling.

Common Name: Plains Leopard Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana blairi
Location:
Breeding Season:

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

Common Name: Northern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana pipiens
Location:
Breeding Season:

Common Name: Southern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana sphenocephalus
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Southern Leopard Frog has a white spot on its tympanum which can help differentiate the species from the other two. The Plains Leopard Frog is different from the Southern and Northern Leopard Frog because of its dorsal ridge. The Plains Leopard Frogs has a break and an indent near its butt while the North and South Leopard Frog just has a straight line.

Common Name: Pickeral Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana palustris
Location:
Breeding Season:

Pickeral Frog looks like the leopard frogs but its spots are more rectangular than the leopard frogs.

American Bullfrog (Rana catesbiana)

Common Name: American Bullfrog
Scientific Name:
Rana catesbiana
Location:
Breeding Season:

The American Bullfrog is the biggest frog in the state, capable of reaching over 7 inches long. The mature males of the species have bright yellow colored throats.

Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

Common Name: Green Frog
Scientific Name:
Rana clamitans
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Green Frog and American Bullfrog looks the same but the Bullfrog can grow larger and they lack a dorsal ridge down their back.

Tree Frog Family  – Hylidae

Common Name: Blanchard’s Cricket Frog
Scientific Name:
Acris blanchardi
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Blanchard’s Cricket Frog is a relatively small frog. It’s skin appears the roughest out of all the tree frogs in the state. It has no distinct markings on it’s body.

Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis) and Eastern Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)

Common Name: Eastern Gray Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla versicolor
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Cope’s Gray Tree Frog and the Gray Tree Frog are nearly identical besides the fact that their calls and chromosome numbers are different. It’s the largest tree frog in the state.

Here is a video of some Eastern Gray Tree Frog males calling that I took.

Common Name: Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
Scientific Name:
Hyla chrysoscelis
Location:
Breeding Season:

Common Name: Spring Peeper
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris crucifer
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Spring Peeper’s call is one of the first signs of spring. Some consider the call to be annoying but I enjoy it. The Spring Peeper has a distinct X on it’s back.

Common Name: Boreal Chorus Frog
Scientific Name:
Pseudacris maculata
Location:
Throughout the state
Breeding Season:

The Boreal Chorus Frog is a rather small frog that can be distinguished from the other frogs in the state by the 3 lines that run down its back.

Toads

True Toad Family – Bufonidae

The True Toads are your typical toad. They usually have a parotid gland behind their eyes that contain a poison called  It is not advised to let your dog eat these guys.

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American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

Common Name: American Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus americanus
Location:
Breeding Season:

The cranial crest of the American Toad does not touch the toad’s parotoid gland or connects to it with a spur while the other toads in the state have their cranial crest touch their parotoid gland. The American Toad is found throughout the state.

Common Name: Great Plains Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus cognatus
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Great Plains Toad is found in the Northwestern part of the state. It has V shaped cranial crest which is unique for the toads in the state.

Common Name: Woodhouse’s Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus woodhousii
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Cranial Crest of the Woodhouse’s Toad do not touch and are opposing L shaped. The toad is found in the western side of state

Common Name: Fowler’s Toad
Scientific Name:
Anaxyrus fowleri
Location:
Breeding Season:

The Fowler’s Toad is found in the southeastern part of the state which can help with distinguishing it from the Woodhouse’s Toad. It has prominent cranial crests that touch the parotoid gland.

Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

Common Name: Plains Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name:
Spea bombifrons
Location:
Eastern half of the state
Breeding Season:

The Plains Spadefoot Toad is the only spadefoot toad in the state. It is found on the eastern side of the state. It can be identified by the spade on it’s rear legs.

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