Frogs and Toads of Mississippi
Mississippi is home to a variety of different types of frogs, from true frogs to tree frogs and everything inbetween.
The American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus, is the largest frog in the North America. It looks very similar to the Green Frog, Lithobates clamitans, 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, Lithobates grylio, but the Pig Frog has bolder spots / stripes on the back of its thighs while the Bullfrog has light spots.
Southern Leopard Frog
Pickeral Frog, Lithobates palustris and the Southern Leopard Frog, Lithobates palustris, 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, Lithobates sevosus, is a critically endangered frog. They only are found in Glen’s Pond in Harrison County.
The Crawfish Frog, Lithobates areolatus, gets its name from living in crawfish holes. Its has skin fold on the side and a small typanum.
The River Frog, Lithobates heckscheri, 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.
Tree Frogs – Hylidae
Northern Cricket Frog
Southern Cricket Frog
The Cricket Frogs look really similar but there’s a few ways to tell them apart. The Southern Cricket Frog, Acris gryllus, has a more pointed snout while the Northern Cricket Frog, Acris crepitans, has a more blunt snout. The Southern Cricket Frog doesn’t have as much webbing on the back legs as the Northern Cricket Frog.
Pine Woods Frog
Cope’s Gray Tree Frog and Gray Tree Frog
The Cope’s Gray Tree Frog, Hyla chrysoscelis / Gray Tree Frog, Hyla versicolor, Pinewoods Frog, Hyla femoralis, and the Bird-Voiced Frog,Hyla avivoca, 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.
Green Tree Frog
Barking Tree Frog
Squirrel Tree Frog
The Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea), Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella), and Barking Tree Frog (Hyla gratiosas) 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.
Southern Chorus Frog
Cajun Chorus Frog
Cajun Chorus Frog, Pseudacris fouquettei and Southern Chorus Frog, Pseudacris nigrita, look very similar but their color patterns are different. Cajun Chorus Frog have three borwn stripes while Southern Chorus have black darken stripes
The Ornate Chorus Frog, Pseudacris ornata, has dark bands running down their sides which is one of the easier characteristics.
True Toads – Bufonidae
The Oak Toad, Anaxyrus quercicus, 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, Anaxyrus terrestris, has knobs on the back of its head. The Fowler’s Toad’s, Anaxyrus fowleri, parotid gland touches its postorbital ridge around its eye while the American Toads’s, Anaxyrus americanus, 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 Toad, Incilius nebulifer, is notable from the other toads because its in the 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.