Frog of the Week

Mexican Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata)

Mexican Spadefoot Toad
photo by Sarah Beckwith

leastconcern
Common Name: Mexican Spadefoot Toad, New Mexican Spadefoot Toad, Southern Spadefoot Toad, Desert Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Spea multiplicata
Family: Scaphiopodidae – American Spadefoot Toad family
Locations: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah
Size: 2.5 inches

The Mexican Spadefoot Toad is found in the southwestern United States and most of central Mexico. Like all spadefoot toads, the Mexican Spadefoot Toad does have keratinized spade-like projections on their hind legs. They use these spades to burrow into the ground. The Mexican Spadefoot Toad spends most of the day underground, coming up at night to hunt and look for mates. For mating, it usually takes place after heavy rains. Breeding periods only last one or two days in ponds and pools that form from the rains. These pools and ponds only last a few weeks. Therefore, the eggs hatch in a few days and it only takes the tadpoles a couple weeks to undergo metamorphosis.

 

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Frog of the Week

Fiji Ground Frog (Cornufer vitianus)

A reddish Fiji Ground Frog next to a ruler
photo by Tamara Osborne

Conservation status is Endangered
Common Name: Fiji Ground Frog, Viti Wrinkled Ground Frog
Scientific Name: Cornufer vitianus
Family: Ceratobatrachidae
Location: Fiji
Size: 2.3 inches

The Fiji Ground Frog is found only on the islands of Fiji. It is found on the four larger islands (Taveuni, Vanua Levu, Ovalau, and Gau) and on the smaller island of Viwa. Sadly, the frog hasn’t been doing to well. The islands of Fiji have been hit hard by invasive species. The Javan Mongoose / Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes javanicus) and the Brown Indian Mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) have been introduced to the island and have found that the Fiji Ground Frog is delicious. These mongooses have wiped out the frog from other islands of Fiji. Other invasive species such as cats and Cane Toads also aren’t helping. Neither is deforestation of their habitat.

small-asian-mongoose
Small Indian Mongoose – photo by Chung Bill Bill
Frog of the Week

Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata)

Boreal Chorus Frog
photo by Todd Pierson

leastconcern
Common Name: Boreal Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris maculata
Family: Hylidae
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, Wyoming, and Wisconsin
Size: around an inch

The Boreal Chorus Frog is found throughout the central United States and Canada. They are also found around the US / Canada border near New York and Vermont. The frog is gray, tan, brown, or green in color and has 3 dark black lines down its back that can be broken.  Also, they have a stripe through its eye. During early spring, the frogs breed  right after the snow melts. While the Boreal Chorus Frog is a tree frog, they are not strong climbers and rarely climb higher than branches on low scrubs.

Frog of the Week

Cliff Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus marnockii)

Cliff Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus marnockii)
photo by LA Dawson

leastconcern
Common Name: Cliff Chirping Frog, Marnock’s Frog
Scientific Name: Eleutherodactylus marnockii
Family: Eleutherodactylidae
Locations: Mexico and the United States (Texas)
Size: .75 – 1.5 inches

The Cliff Chirping Frog is named after the fact that its found underneath rocks and crevices near limestone bluffs and ledges, talus slides, cliffs, and ravines. They can also be found in caves. These frogs are highly terrestrial, even breeding on land. Females lay up to 20 eggs in soil and then they are covered to keep them safe. The eggs eventually hatch and out comes a small froglet, skipping the tadpole stage.

Frog of the Week

Cuban Tree Frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

osteopilus_septentrionalis_6
photo by Munkel

leastconcern
Common Name: Cuban Tree Frog
Scientific Name: Osteopilus septentrionalis
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog Family
Locations: Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba
Introduced Locations: Anguilla, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States (Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas), British Virgin Islands, and US Virgin Islands.
Size: 3 to 5.5 inches

The Cuban Tree Frog is a large tree frog native to the Caribbean but has been introduced to other areas of the world such as Florida. In Florida, the Cuban Tree Frog has become a problem. Their size allows them to eat other smaller frogs and other native animals.  They also can breed year round and it takes only a couple weeks for the tadpoles to reach frog stage. They also can produce skin secretions that can irritate humans.

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Frog of the Week

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Southern_Leopard_Frog,_Missouri_Ozarks
photo by Bob Warrick

leastconcern
Common Name: Southern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name: Lithobates / Rana sphenocephalus
Family: Ranidae
Location: United States – Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
Size: 5 inches

The Southern Leopard Frog is named after its large spots on its body. They live near shallow, freshwater habitats such as ponds, lakes, and ditches. In the northern part of their range, breeding takes place during the start of spring .While in the southern part, it can happen any month following rains but there are two generally large breeding events during the fall and winter.

Frog of the Week

Maud Island Frog (Leiopelma pakeka)

Maud_Island_frog_DOC
photo by D. Garrick

vulnerable

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.

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.

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.

Frog of the Week

Pine Barrens Tree Frog (Hyla andersonii)

photo by R. Tuck of the USFWS

nearthreatened

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.