Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Montana

Frogs and Toads of Montana

Montana has a diverse range of frogs and toads. Five different families of frogs live in the state.

Frogs

True Frog Family – Ranidae

Columbia Spotted Frog  (Lithobates luteiventris)
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Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

Both the Northern Leopard Frog and Columbia Spotted Frog have spots but the Northern Leopard Frog has larger spots that cover all of the body. Also the Columbia Spotted Frog has wide stripe by it’s lips that extends to jaw. The Columbia Spotted Frog is also found in only the western side of the state.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

There are only two tree frogs in the state. Both of them are from the genus Pseudacris – the Chorus Frog genus.

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata)

The Boreal Chorus Frog has three lines down it’s back which is the key trait to tell it apart from other frogs in the state.

pacific tree frog
Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla) by The High Fin Sperm Whale

The Pacific Tree Frog has no lines down it’s back. It has a black line that goes down its eye and down its side.

Tailed Frog Family – Ascaphidae

rockymnttailedfrog
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (Ascaphus montanus)

The males of the Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog is easy to tell apart from the other frogs because it has a tail even when it’s an adult.

Toads

True Toad Family – Bufonidae

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas)

Western Toad is easy to identify because of the lack of cranial crest in the frog and the cream or white color stripe down it’s back. The toad is also found in the western part of the state while the others are found in the east.

Woodhouse’s Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus)
Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus)

Woodhouse’s Toad and the Great Plains Toad live in the eastern more part of the state. The difference between the two is about the cranial crests. Woodhouse’s toad’s cranial crests form a L on each side of their head while the Great Plains Toad has more of a V between the eyes.

Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

Spea_bombifrons
Plains Spadefoot Toad (Spea bombifrons) by Stanley Trauth

The Plains Spadefoot toad is the only spadefoot toad in the state. Look at the rear foot of the toad and you will find a keratinized spade on it which no other toad or frog in the state has.

Introduced

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American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

The American Bullfrog has been introduced to the state. It is a highly invasive species and can eat a wide range of wildlife because of it’s size.

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