Plains Leopard Frog

Plains leopard frog
Plains Leopard Frog

Lithobates blairi
   (= Rana blairi)

(Order Anura; Family Ranidae)

Diagnosis:  The Plains Leopard Frog is a medium sized frog, typically ranging from 2-3.5 inches (50-90 mm). Coloration is brown or gray on top with round brown or black spots on the back and sides. A dark spot is usually present on the snout. The upper jaw has a distinct line along the upper jaw. The tympanum typically has a light spot. Toes have well developed webbing. The dorsolateral stripe is broken posteriorly. Underparts are white with pale yellow near the groin and inner thighs.

Natural History: This species breeds from mid-April to early June. Females may produce between 4,000 and 6,500 eggs. Eggs hatch in 2 to 3 weeks. Tadpoles are herbivorous but may feed on dead animal matter. This species disperses between ponds on rainy nights. During the winter, adults or tadpoles hibernate in the leaves and mud at the bottom of ponds and streams.

Call: The mating call of the male is a rapid, deep “chuck-chuck-chuck”.

Distribution: Grassland areas of the Midwest (from southern South Dakota in the north to central Texas in the south and from New Mexico in the west to western Indian in the east).


 

Habitat: Floodplains, ditches, farm ponds, small streams, marshes.

Diet: A wide variety of invertebrates (worms, aquatic insects, small minnows).

Conservation status:  Not threatened

References:
Johnson, Tom R.  1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO.  368 pp.

Smith, B.E. and D.A. Keinath (2005, December 20). Plains Leopard Frog (Rana blairi): a technical conservation assessment. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/projects/scp/assessments/plainsleopardfrog.pdf

Reptiles and Amphibians of Nebraska (link to http://snr.unl.edu/herpneb/frog/basicfrogkey.html)

Field Guide to Iowa Reptiles and Amphibians (link to http://www.herpnet.net/Iowa-Herpetology/)


Image Credits:
Lithobates blairi in water. Photo by Mary Liz Jameson, 2011.
Lithobates blairi on daisy. Photo by Mary Liz Jameson, 2011.
United States Distribution map from: Smith and Keinath, 2005.
Kansas map from: Collins, 2011.
 

Submitted by:  Mary Liz Jameson, July 2011

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