Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Missouri

Frogs and Toads of Missouri


True Frog Family – Ranidae

Crawfish Frog (Lithobates areolatus)

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.

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

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.

Bronze /Green Frog (Lithobates 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.

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

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 (Lithobates palustris)

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


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

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)

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.

Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

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

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

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.

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

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.

Boreal Chorus Frog

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

Cajun Chorus Frog


Upland Chorus Frog

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

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

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

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

Great Plains Toad

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

Fowler’s Toad
Woodhouse’s Toad

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 

Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookiiphoto by Riechvaugen

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

Plains Spadefoot Toad (Spea bombifrons)

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

Narrowed Mouth Toad Family – Microhylidae

Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) photo from the USGS

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

Great Plains Narrow Mouthed Toad

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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