Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Kentucky

Frogs and Toads of Kentucky

Kentucky is home to a variety of different frogs and toad species.

Frogs

True Frog Family – Ranidae

Bullfrog
American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbianus)

The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in the state. It lacks a dorsal ridge down its back.

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Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

The Green Frog looks identical to the American Bullfrog but it has an incomplete dorsal ridge.

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Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

Wood Frog is a very easy to identify because of their mask around their face.

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Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus)

The Crawfish Frog gets its name from living in crawfish holes. Its has skin fold on the side and a small typanum.

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Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)
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Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

The Northern and Southern Leopard Frog look very much alike with their uninterupted dorsal ridges and spots but there are some differences. Southern Leopard Frog has a white spot on the tympanum and has a more pointed snout.

plainsleopardfrog
Plains Leopard Frog (Lithobates blairi)  by Don Becker – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32691900

The Plains Leopard Frog looks like the Northern and Southern Leopard Frog but the dorsal ridge is not complete like theirs. It shifts inward near the groin and can be broken.

pickerelfrog
Pickeral Frog (Lithobates palustris

The Pickerel Frog looks like the Leopard Frogs but the spots on its skin are more rectangular than the Leopard Frog’s.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

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Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

The Northern Cricket Frog is the only Cricket Frog found in the state. They lack any distinct marks on its back.

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Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)
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Barking Tree Frog (Hyla gratiosas) 

The Barking Tree Frog has much rougher skin than the Green Tree Frog. Both species have lines down the sides.

GrayTreeFrog
Eastern Gray Tree Frog (Hyla veriscolor) and Copes Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

These two frogs are identical besides their calls and chromosome numbers. These tree frogs are also larger than the ones below. Also note that Gray Tree Frogs are not always gray and can be green. These frogs also have orange or yellow markings on their back legs.

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Bird-voiced Tree Frog (Hyla avivoca)

Bird-Voiced Tree Frog looks similar to the Gray Tree Frogs but their legs have a more yellow / green color on them while the Gray’s are more orange.

Upland Chorus Frog
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Midland Chorus Frog

Upland and Midland Chorus Frog both have three stripes down their back. Midland has broader stripes and the stripes also aren’t broken.

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Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

The Spring Peeper is a small frog with a distinct X on its back. They are one of the first frogs to start singing in the spring.

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Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)

The Mountain Chorus Frog has a distinct mark on its back that looks like this )(.

Toads

True Toad Family – Bufonidae

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American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
fowlerstoad
Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

The American Toad and Fowler’s Toad look very much a like. The distinguishing features are found in the head. Below is a good diagram to help.

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American Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

There is only one Spadefoot Toad in the state.

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Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is easy to identify because of the spade on their back legs that are used for digging.

Narrow Mouthed Toad Family – Microhylidae

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Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad is the only narrow mouthed toad in the state. Its head is extremely narrow compared to the other toads.

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