Frog of the Week

Maud Island Frog (Leiopelma pakeka)

photo by D. Garrick


Common Name: Maud Island Frog
Scientific Name: Leiopelma pakeka
Family: Leiopelmatidae
Location: New Zealand
Size: 1.8 inches

The Maud Island Frog is an ancient frog found only in New Zealand, on Maud Island and Motuara Island. These frogs have a long lifespan, averaging 33 years. Scientists aren’t even sure that the Maud Island Frog is a distinct species of frog. When the species was orginally discovered, it was thought to be a subspecies of the Hamilton’s Frog (Leiopelma hamiltoni) until researchers looked at the muscle proteins of the frogs and determined that they were different enough to be two different species. However, new genetic tests showed that there isn’t much difference between the two. Who knows if it will stay as a species.

Other Amphibian of the Week

Reticulated Siren (Siren reticulata)

photo by Pierson Hill

Common Name: Reticulated Siren
Scientific Name: Siren reticulata
Family:  Sirenidae
Location: United States – Florida and Alabama
Size: 2 feet

The Reticulated Siren is a new species of amphibian! It was only recently described by researchers David Steen, Sean P Graham, Richard Kline, and Crystal Kelehear. The Reticulated Siren is a highly aquatic species of amphibian, living at the bottom of ponds and swamps. Its currently found in southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Like all Sirens, the Reticulated Siren lacks hind legs and has gills. They have a long eel like body.

Frog of the Week

Bhupathy’s Purple Frog (Nasikabatrachus bhupathi)

photo by Jeegath Janani

Common Name: Bhupathy’s Purple Frog
Scientific Name: Nasikabatrachus bhupathi
Family: Nasikabatrachidae
Location: India
Size: 2 inches

There used to be just one species of Purple Frog until genetic tests showed there was another species: the Bhupathy’s Purple Frog. Some of the other differences between the two species are their calls and breeding seasons. Bhupathy’s Purple Frog breeds during the northeast monsoon while the Purple Frog breeds during the southwest monsoon.

The Bhupathy’s Purple Frog spends their life underground. They rarely come to the surface and its generally only to mate. The conservation status of the frog has not be accessed but the regular Purple Frog is listed as Endangered so its likely the Bhupathy’s Purple Frog isn’t doing well either. The frog is named after Dr. Bhupathy Subramaniam, a famous herpetologist who died accidentally from a fall.

New Species, Uncategorized

New Siren Species: the Reticulated Siren

photo by Pierson Hill

A new species of siren was discovered in southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle. There were rumors about an undiscovered large, spotted salamander that lived in the area. A few samples of the species was recovered back in the 1970s but people thought they were just bizarre Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina). The species was re-discovered by former Herper of the Week, David Steen Ph.D., when he was trapping turtles on a military base in Florida. He noticed that it was different from other sirens he has seen. Steen and other researchers (Sean P Graham, Richard Kline, Crystal Kelehear) performed genetic tests and found it to be its own species. They named it the Reticulated Siren because of its color pattern.

One of the interesting facts about the new Siren is its size. Its a large salamander, with average size of the specimens collected being around a foot long but some were two feet long. It is one of the largest animals discovered in North America in over a hundred years. You are probably wondering how a two foot long salamander hasn’t been discovered until now. Sirens are a fully aquatic species and live in murky waters, making them hard to see. With the discovery of the Reticulated Siren, the Siren Family, Sirenidae, there are now 5 different species but who knows? There could be even more hiding.

You can read the full article here –

Other Amphibian of the Week

Abe’s Salamander (Hynobius abei)

photo by Japanese Ministry of the Environment 

Common Name: Abe’s Salamanader
Scientific Name: Hynobius abei
Family: Hynobiidae – Asiatic Salamanders
Location: Japan
Size: 1.9 – 2.8 inches snout to vent, 3.2–4.8 inches total length

The Abe’s Salamander is only found in Japan, in the secondary bamboo forest or deciduous hardwood forests. The salamander’s populations aren’t doing that well. There aren’t that many left and they are in danger of because extinct due to habitat loss. The breeding season for the salamander starts during November and December, when there is snow. Females can lay up to 109 eggs during the season. Larvae doesn’t undergo metamorphosis until late summer or even until next year. The Abe’s Salamander is named after Yoshio Abe, a Japanese zoologist.

Frog of the Week

Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito)

photo by Kevin Enge

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.

Frog of the Week

Pine Barrens Tree Frog (Hyla andersonii)

photo by R. Tuck of the USFWS


Common Name: Pine Barrens Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Hyla andersonii
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Location: United States – Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, and South Carolina
Size: 1.5 to 2 inches

The Pine Barrens Tree Frog is a rare tree frog from eastern United States. There are only three areas that they are found, the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, the Sandhills of the Carolinas, the Florida Panhandle into southern Alabama. They are listed as an endangered species in New Jersey, while listed as significantly rare in North Carolina, and threatened in South Carolina and Alabama. In Florida, their status is rare. One cool thing about the Pine Barrens Tree Frog is they actually like to lay their eggs in more acidic ponds ranging from 3.8 to 5.9 pH.


Trip to the Milwaukee Public Museum

I visited the Milwaukee Public Museum to see the new exhibit on frogs. The exhibit was pretty good, except they didn’t include the conservation status of the frogs that they showed. I didn’t take pics of all the species of frogs so go check it out if you are in the area.


The first frog was the Smoky Jungle Frog. It’s a beautiful frog from South America.


Next was one of the many species of Monkey Tree Frogs (Phyllomedusa bicolor). They too are found in South America.


Here’s a Tomato Frog that was hiding from me. I forgot to write down what exact species it is but all 4 members of the Tomato Frog genus Dyscophus are found in Madagascar.


There was two big Ornate Horned Frogs They are good boys.


There was a group of Borneo Eared Frogs (Polypedates otilophus). Never seen these frogs before but they were pretty cool even though they were sleeping.


Another new species that I didn’t know about is the Smooth-sided Toad (Rhaebo guttatus). These guys are actually really big, they can reach over 6 inches long.


These Chinese Gliding Frogs (Rhacophorus dennysi) were pretty cool to see even though they were asleep. Sadly, none of them were gliding.


The Asian Tree Frog (Pedostibes hosii) is native to southeastern Asia. It’s pretty awesome.


Here are some of the Poison Dart Frogs they had. I am stupid and forgot to write down all the species they had.


Last, we have the Amazon Milk Frog (Trachycephalus resinifictrix). These guys are cute and they can grow a lot bigger than I thought they could.

Frogs of the World

Frogs and Toads of Norway

Frogs and Toads of Norway

Norway isn’t home to that many species of frogs and toads, only four.


True Frog Family – Ranidae

Pool Frog (Pelophylax lessonae)

The Pool Frog is found barely in the southern part of the country. It’s green color separates it from the other frogs in the country, making it easier to identify.

Moor Frog (Rana arvalis)
European Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

The European Common Frog and the Moor Frog look just alike. The Common Frog has a more blunt head than the Moor Frog. The Moor Frog can also have more of a striped pattern. Neither characteristics are that great at identifying them sadly. The Common Frog is actually found more throughout the country while the Moor Frog is found in the southern part of the country.


True Toad Family – Bufonidae

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

The Common Toad is the only toad found in the country. They have dry, bumpy skin that makes them easy to identify. It is generally found along the coast of the country.

Frogs by State

Frogs and Toads of Washington DC

Frogs and Toads of the Washington DC


True Frog Family – Ranidae

IMG_1138 (2)
American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)

The Green Frog and American Bullfrog looks the same but the Bullfrog lacks a dorsal ridge down their back. The American Bullfrog also grows much larger than the Green Frog.

Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)
Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus) photo by Bob Warrick

The Northern and Southern Leopard Frogs look extremely alike. The Southern Leopard Frog has a white spot in its tympanum (ear spot) while the Northern one generally doesn’t. The Northern Leopard Frog has a more rounded spot than the Southern Leopard Frog.

Pickeral Frog (Lithobates palustris)

The Pickeral Frog appears much similar to the Leopard Frogs but they have rectangular spots on their back.

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)

The Wood Frog has a very distinct mask around its face than other frogs in the area don’t have. They can vary in color from silver, red, and brown.

Tree Frog Family – Hylidae

Eastern Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) / Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

The Eastern and Gray Tree Frog and the Cope’s Gray Tree Frog are identical besides their calls. They have yellow markings on their hind legs. They can also be green or gray in color.

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

The Spring Peeper is one of the first frogs to call in spring and is extremely loud. It has a noticeable X shape on its back.

Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

The Green Tree Frog has a white line down the side of its jaw and down its side.


True Toad Family – Bufonidae

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

The Fowler’s Toad and the American Toad look very much a like but there are some differences in the back of the head.

The American Toad’s parotid gland is separated from the cranial crest while the Fowler’s Toad’s touches.

American Spadefoot Toad Family – Scaphiopodidae

Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii) by Riechvaugen

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is the only spadefoot toad in the area. They have keratonized sheaths on their rear feet that help them with digging.