Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Missouri

Frogs and Toads of Missouri


True Frog Family – Ranidae

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

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American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

The American Bullfrog is the largest native frog in the United States. There is no dorsal ridge that runs down its back on the American Bullfrog. This is the distinguishable characteristics of the frog.

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Bronze /Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

The Green Frog looks very much like the American Bullfrog but it’s a tad smaller. It has a dorsal ridge that runs down its back but they are incomplete and do not reach all the way.

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Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

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.

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

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The Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) is easy to identify because of the dark mask on its face.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

The Northern Cricket Frog is the only cricket frog in the state. Its skin is relatively more rough than the other tree frogs in the state. It also has no distinct markings.

The Green Tree Frog has a white line that runs down its side. It doesn’t have any distinct markings on its back.

These two frogs are identical besides their calls and chromosome numbers. Note that Gray Tree Frogs are not always gray and can be green. They have yellow or orange coloration on their back legs which is nice to identify them.

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

The Spring Peeper is a notoriously loud frog and one of the first signs of spring. It has a noticeable X marking on its back.

The Boreal Chorus Frog is found in the northern half of the state. The three stripes on its back are often not broken and if one is, its the middle.

Found in the southeast corner of the state

The Upland and Cajun Chorus Frog are both found in the Southeast part of the state. They are very hard to tell apart. The best way to tell is by their calls and through genetic testing. The stripes on their back are often broken and can even appear as spots.

Illinois Chorus Frog (Pseudacris illinoensis) 

The Illinois Chorus Frog does not have a white line that extends off the lips while the other chorus frogs do.


True Toad Family – Bufonidae

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American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

The American Toad’s cranial crest and the parotoid gland to not touch or they are connected by a spur.

The Cranial Crests of the Great Plains Toad form a V shape between the eyes

The Fowler’s and Woodhouse’s Toads both have cranial crests that form opposing L shapes. The Fowler’s Toad has largest, dark spots on its back that have 3 or more warts in them.

Spadefoot Toads – Scaphiopodidae 

The Eastern Spadefoot toad’s range reaches the southeastern corner of the state. It’s spade is sickle shaped.

The Plains Spadefoot Toad has a rounded spade compared to the Eastern Spadefoot Toad.

Narrowed Mouth Toad Family – Microhylidae

The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Frog is found throughout the state. It has a dark belly and often has a broad line down its back.

The Great Plains Narrow Mouthed Toad is found on the western edge of the state. It has a light, unmarked belly and has no patterns and a few spots on its back.


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