Frogs and Toads of Mississippi
Mississippi is home to a variety of different types of frogs, from true frogs to tree frogs and everything in between.
The American Bullfrog is the largest frog in the North America. It looks very similar to the Green Frog but the dorsal ridge wraps around the tympanum while the Green Frog’s dorsal ridge is incomplete and does not extend all the way to its rear. The American Bullfrog is also very similar to the Pig Frog but the Pig Frog has bolder spots / stripes on the back of its thighs while the Bullfrog has light spots.
Pickeral Frog and the Southern Leopard Frog look very much a like. The Pickeral Frog has more square shaped spots on its back while the Southern Leopard frog has more circular ones.
Mississippi Gopher Frog or Dusky Gopher Frog is a critically endangered frog. They only are found in Glen’s Pond in Harrison County.
The Crawfish Frog gets its name from living in crawfish holes. Its has skin fold on the side and a small typanum.
The River Frog does not have a dorsal ridge which is a key identification characteristic. Its skin is also a lot more rough and wrinkly than another true frogs.
The Cricket Frogs look really similar but there’s a few ways to tell them apart. The Southern Cricket Frog has a more pointed snout while the Northern Cricket Frog has a more blunt snout. The Southern Cricket Frog doesn’t have as much webbing on the back legs as the Northern Cricket Frog.
The Cope’s Gray Tree Frog, the Eastern Gray Tree Frog, Pinewoods Frog, and the Bird-Voiced Frog, , look very much a like. The difference is the coloration on the inner thigh. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog and Gray Tree Frog has brighter orange color on the thigh while the Bird-Voiced Frog is more greenish-yellow. The Pinewoods Frog has dots / spots on the inner thigh.
The Green Tree Frog, Squirrel Tree Frog , and Barking Tree Frog are all very similar. The Barking Tree Frog has much rougher skin than the others. The Green Tree Frog has a white line down its back.
Mountain Chorus Frog
Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer, and the Mountain Chorus Frog, Pseudacris brachyphona, are similar but the markings on their back can be used to tell them apart. The Spring Peeper has an X on its back while the Mountain Chorus Frog has 2 backwards parenthesizes that look like )(. Sometimes they touch that can kinda look like an x but there’s also a dark triangle between its eyes that the Spring Peeper doesn’t have.
Cajun Chorus Frog and Southern Chorus Frog look very similar but their color patterns are different. Cajun Chorus Frog have three brown stripes while Southern Chorus have black darken stripes
The Ornate Chorus Frog has dark bands running down their sides which is one of the easier characteristics.
The Oak Toad is the most easily identifiable toad out of the group of four. It is the smallest of the group and has a light line down its back. The Oak Toad also has orange on the bottom of its feet. The remaining three species of toads in Alabama are a lot harder to distinguish between. To identify the differences, you have to look at the top of the head. The Southern Toad has knobs on the back of its head. The Fowler’s Toad’s parotid gland touches its postorbital ridge around its eye while the American Toads’s, , parotid gland does not touch or connected to it by a spur. Here’s an easy map I found that helps me.
The Gulf Coast Toadis notable from the other toads because its in a different genus Incilius. This genus has a more defined cranial crest than Anaxyrus.
The Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Scaphiopus holbrookii, is the only Spadefoot toad in Alabama so it can easily be identified because of the spade on its back legs.
The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis, is the only narrow mouthed toad in Mississippi. One could potentially misidentify it has a Spadefoot toad because of its burrowing lifestyle but the head is narrower and there’s no spade on the back feet.
The Greenhouse Frog, Eleutherodactylus planirostris, is native to Cuba, Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands. They are accidentally shipped around the world with plants so they are often found in greenhouses which is where they get their name.