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Order Description


Order Description

All frogs and toads belong to the Order Anura, and are thus called anurans. The name of the order comes from the Greek an, without, and ura, a tail, referring to their tailless condition. Frogs and toads have four legs, the back legs being longer than the front legs. They lay eggs in water or in moist terrestrial sites. The eggs hatch into larvae (tadpoles) that live in the water until they metamorphose into adults. Male anurans can vocalize, calling or chorusing to attract females during the breeding season or to establish territories. Adult anurans are carnivorous, feeding on insects and other invertebrates. The largest individuals will eat almost anything they can fit in their mouths, including birds, mice, snakes, and other amphibians.

Family Bufonidae

True Toads have thick knobby skin, large parotoid glands on the head behind the eyes, and short legs that propel them in short hops. Toads cannot cause warts, but their skin glands secrete a substance that may irritate the mouth, nose, and eyes. Toads are represented by one genus and four species in Georgia.
Species in this family:
    American Toad (Bufo americanus)
    Fowler's Toad (Bufo fowleri)
    Oak Toad (Bufo quercicus)
    Southern Toad (Bufo terrestris)

Family Hylidae

Members of this family have different habitat preferences and vary in size and body shape. Treefrogs are long-legged and arboreal. Cricket Frogs and Chorus Frogs are terrestrial and have relatively short legs.
Species in this family:
    Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)
    Bird-voiced Treefrog (Hyla avivoca)
    Brimley's Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brimleyi)
    Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
    Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)
    Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis)
    Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)
    Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)
    Ornate Chorus Frog (Pseudacris ornata)
    Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis)
    Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita)
    Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)
    Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
    Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)
    Upland Chorus Frog (Pseudacris feriarum)

Family Leptodactylidae

Species in this family:
    Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

Family Microhylidae

Narrowmouth Toads are small, stocky, burrowing toads characterized by a fold of skin behind their head and very pointed snouts. Two genera and three species occur in the United States, but only one species is found in Georgia.
Species in this family:
    Eastern Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Family Pelobatidae

Spadefoot Toads are characterized by short legs, relatively smooth skin, and vertically elliptical pupils. Members of this family are terrestrial burrowers. Their back feet have special, spade-shaped tubercles used to dig into loose soil. They are nocturnal, and are rarely seen above ground except on very humid or rainy nights.
Species in this family:
    Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

Family Ranidae

These primarily aquatic frogs have smooth skin and webbed back feet. Their long back legs propel them in long leaps. Members of this family are usually found along the edges of lakes, rivers, swamps, and streams. One genus and nine species live in Georgia.
Species in this family:
    Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana)
    Carpenter Frog (Rana virgatipes)
    Gopher Frog (Rana capito)
    Green Frog / Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans)
    Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)
    Pig Frog (Rana grylio)
    River Frog (Rana hecksheri)
    Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)
    Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)