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Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Rana berlandieri)

photo by William Flaxington

Common Name: Rio Grande Leopard Frog or the Mexican Leopard Frog
Scientific Name: Rana berlandieri
Family: Ranidae – True Frog family
Locations: Belize, Mexico, Nicaragua, and the United States
US Locations: New Mexico, and Texas
Introduced Locations: Arizona and California
Size: 2.2 – 4.4 inches (56 – 112 mm)

The Rio Grande Leopard Frog is a semi aquatic species of frog, often found along the edges of water bodies. They range in color from green, brown, and olive. Breeding can happen year round for the frogs in the warmer areas, but mostly in spring and then late summer / fall. The males of the species will call from the shoreline to attract the females. Once the female selects a mate, the two will embrace in the amplexus position and mate. Females lay between 500 to 1200 eggs.

The Rio Grande Leopard Frog has been accidentally introduced to the area around the California / Arizona border due to stocking of game fish. The tadpoles could have hid into the fish that gets dumped. The introduced frogs have been found with diseases such as Red Leg and Chytrid Fungus that could be introduced into native populations of frogs, and then potentially causing mass die offs. The frog is thought to have caused declines of the Lowland Leopard Frog in southeastern California.

The species epithet – berlandieri is in honor of Jean-Louis Berlandier, a naturalist who was part of one of the first biological surveys of Texas for the Mexico government.

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