Frog of the Week

Sheep Frog (Hypopachus variolosus)

Sheep Frog
photo by wikiuser Pstevendactylus 

Common Name: Sheep Frog, Mexican Narrow Mouthed Toad
Scientific Name: Hypopachus variolosus
Family: Microhylidae
Location: Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States
US Location: Texas
Size: 1 – 1.5 inches (2.5 – 4 cm)

The Sheep Frog may not have any wool but it’s mating call sounds exactly like a sheep’s baaah. You will probably only see the frog during breeding time because they are fossorial, generally living in burrows underground or under logs. Their diet consists of ants and termites. typical for fossorial frogs. The frog ranges from color from olive green to brown, allowing it to camouflaged easily. Sexually mature males have dark colored throats compared to females.

The breeding season starts for the Sheep Frog when the heavy rains arrive between March and September. Reproduction for the Sheep Frog is pretty standard for a frog or toad. Once the rain starts, the males call from the shallows of the temporary ponds to attract the females.. Once the female shows up, the male grasps the female from behind in the amplexus pose. Next, the female lay her eggs and the male fertilizes them. The female lays around 700 eggs at a time. No parent provides any care for the offspring. The eggs hatch into tadpoles in under 12 hours and then the tadpoles take only a month to turn into froglets. 

Sheep Frog
photo by Sean Michael Rovito

Sheep Frog Conservation

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Sheep Frog as Least Concern for Extinction. The justification for this category is their wide range and large population within the range. However, they are listed as a threatened by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. They are only found in the southern tip of the state. Due to their status, they are protected from collection in Texas.

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