Frog of the Week

Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito)

photo by Kevin Enge

nearthreatened
Common Name: Gopher Frog
Scientific Name: Lithobates capito
Family: Ranidae
Location: USA – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee (extremely rare)
Size: 2.5 – 3.75 inches

The Gopher Frog gets it name from the fact that they live in Gopher Tortoise’s (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows. Sadly, both the Gopher Frog and the Gopher Tortoise aren’t doing so hot. The habitat that these buddies used to live in was destroyed to make room for development. Fire suppression is another cause of the Gopher Tortoise and Frog decline. The tortoise enjoys wiregrass and herbaceous vegetative covers which gets decreased when invading hardwoods take over due to the fire suppression. It also changes the the quality of the temporary breeding pools that Gopher Frogs use.

The Gopher Frog has two subspecies – the Carolina Gopher Frog (Rana capito capito) and the Florida Gopher Frog (Rana capito aesopus).  The Florida Gopher Frog is darker in color, ranging from grey to brown while the Carolina Gopher Frog is lighter, varying from white, brown, and yellow.

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