Frog of the Week

Dusky Gopher Frog (Rana sevosa)

Dusky Gopher Frog
photo by the U.S. Department of Agriculture

Common Name: Dusky Gopher Frog, Mississippi Gopher Frog
Scientific Name: Rana sevosa
Family: Ranidae – True Frogs family
Location: Mississippi – historically in Louisiana and Alabama
Size: 3 inches (8 cm)

The Dusky Gopher frog is listed by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as critically endangered frog and is listed under the Endangered Species Act by the United States government. It was found throughout the southeast but now they can only be found in Glen’s Pond in Harrison County, Mississippi. There is a few different reasons for the decline in the frog. Changes to their natural habitat is one of the key reasons for the declines. Wetlands that the frog calls home have been drained and forests have been clear cut. Fire suppression has also altered the habitat. Naturally, wild fires happen and help maintain open ground area but fire suppression has stopped this. The frogs also like to use Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows as a place to hide but the Gopher Tortoise’s populations are also dropping.

Dusky Gopher Frog
photo by Jeromi Hefner

Some work is being done to save the species. Prescribed burns, where a controlled burn is applied to an area, is being used to restore some of the habitat. Zoos are maintaining populations of the frogs in captivity and also trying to breed them for release. Critical habitat has been designated for the Dusky Gopher Frog but legal problems are holding it up due to the habitat being on private property.  Who knows what the future holds for the frog.

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