Cochise County, AZ
Cochise Co., AZ
|PLAINS LEOPARD FROG Lithobates blairi|
DESCRIPTION: This leopard frog grows to about 4.4 inches in length; males average a smaller size than females. This is a buff, pale brown, or olive green frog with dark spots. It is distinguished from other Arizona leopard frogs by a combination of characters, including incomplete dorsolateral folds that are broken and inset towards the rear, usually a white spot in the center of the tympanum, a complete lip or supralabial stripe, typically a spot on the snout in front of the eyes, and a reticulation of dark and light on the rear of the thighs that is more open and lighter in color than either the Rio Grande or lowland leopard frog. The tadpoles are relatively pale and uniform in color and may reach >3 inches total length.
HABITAT: In Arizona, it is now primarily a frog of stock tanks, other man-made waters, and sloughs. It historically occurred along streams draining the western slopes of the Chiricahua Mountains.
BEHAVIOR: Can be found active day or night, although they are easier to find and observe at night with a headlamp or flashlight. Probably moves considerable distances overland and along drainages during summer monsoons, when it can occasionally be found on roads at night.
DIET: The plains leopard frog feeds upon a variety of invertebrates as well as some vertebrates (a bat was documented in the diet of a Texas specimen).
REPRODUCTION AND CALLS: In Arizona, plains leopard frogs breed from late March through early June, and from August through October. Egg masses contain up to 6,500 eggs and are usually attached to vegetation in shallow water. Tadpoles are known to overwinter. The call is a stuttering chuckle call, similar to the lowland leopard frog.REMARKS: Causes of decline are unclear, but likely include predation by non-native predators.
By Jim Rorabaugh
It is against Arizona State law to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect this animal or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.
Brennan, T.C., & Holycross, A.T. 2006. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish Department. Phoenix, AZ.
Clarkson, R.W., and J.C. Rorabaugh. 1989. Status of leopard frogs (Rana pipiens Complex) in Arizona and southeastern California. Southwestern Naturalist 34(4):531-538.
Degenhardt, W.G., C.W. Painter, and A.H. Price. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
Crawford, J.A., L.E. Brown, and C.W. Painter. 2005. Rana blairi Mecham, Littlejohn, Oldham, Brown, and Brown, 1973, Plains leopard frog. Pages 532-534 in M.J. Lannoo (ed), Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species. University of California Press, Berkeley.Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
All content on this website is copyrighted © 2008 Thomas C. Brennan.
We request that if you make use of the textual contents of this site in reports, publications, etc. that you cite and credit the author(s) and photographer(s). All photos on this website are copyrighted. However, those found in the species account and habitat sections may be used for any noncommercial scientific, educational, or conservation purposes provided that photographs are not altered and continue to bear the copyright symbol and name of the photographer. Please contact the photographer regarding commercial use of copyrighted photographs.