Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Mississippi

Frogs and Toads of Mississippi

Frogs

Mississippi is home to a variety of different types of frogs, from true frogs to tree frogs and everything in between.

True Frogs – Ranidae

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American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)

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Green Frog / Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans)

Pig Frog (Rana grylio)

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 (Rana palustris)
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Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephalus)

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.

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Dusky Gopher Frog / Mississippi Gopher Frog (Rana sevosus)

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Mississippi Gopher Frog or Dusky Gopher Frog is a critically endangered frog. They only are found in Glen’s Pond in Harrison County.

Crawfish Frog (Rana areolatus)

The Crawfish Frog gets its name from living in crawfish holes. Its has skin fold on the side and a small typanum.

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River Frog (Rana heckscheri) 

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.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

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Blanchard’s Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi)
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Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

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  and less webbing on their back legs while the Northern Cricket Frog has a more blunt snout and more webbing on back legs.

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

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

Bird-Voiced Frog  (Hyla avivoca)

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.

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Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)
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Barking Tree Frog (Hyla gratiosas)
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Squirrel Tree Frog (Hyla squirella)

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 side.

Pseudacris – Chorus Frogs

Mountain Chorus Frog
Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)
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Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

The Spring Peeper and Mountain Chorus Frog 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.

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Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita)
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Cajun Chorus Frog (Pseudacris fouquettei)

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

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Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata) 

The Ornate Chorus Frog has dark bands running down their sides which is one of the easier characteristics to identify it from. 

Toads

True Toad Family – Bufonidae

Toads from the family Bufonidae can create a poisonous chemical called Bufotoxin. People and pets should avoid eating these toads.

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Oak Toad  (Anaxyrus quercicus)

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.

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Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri) photo by Jimpaz

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American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

The remaining toads 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 post orbital 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.

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Coastal Plains Toad (Incilius nebulifer)

The Gulf Coast Toad is notable from the other toads because its in a different genus Incilius. This genus has a more defined cranial crest than toads of the genus Anaxyrus.

American Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

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Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is the only Spadefoot toad in state so it can easily be identified because of the spade on its back legs.

Narrow Mouthed Toad Family – Microhylidae

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Eastern Narrow Mouth Toad  (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

The Eastern Narrow Mouthed Toad 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.

Invasive

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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.

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3 thoughts on “Frogs and Toads of Mississippi”

  1. I am not sure, but I think I may have a Barking Tree Frog in my potted Lemon Grass. I am in Hazlehurst, MS. My Lemon Grass is in one of those 1/2 barrel wooden pots and Prince Charming seems quite content, sitting comfortably on a blade that is about 1/2″ wide. He’s about 3/4 inch long. I like having him hanging around. What will happen to him in the winter? Where will he go? How long will he liver? What can I do to encourage his return?

      1. Thanks much for the reply. I put a shallow dish of filtered water out last night. Could not find him this morning. Alas, mine may have been a layover destination!

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