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Species Description

Southern Leopard Frog

Rana sphenocephala


Species Image

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae

Description

Spotted like a leopard, with large dark green to brown spots on its back, sides, and legs. The spots on the sides and legs may be smaller than those on the back. Occasionally, there are no spots on the body at all. The upper jaw has a light, sometimes yellow stripe. A medium-sized frog, 5.1 - 8.9 cm (2 - 3.5 in) in length.

Life Cycle

The Southern Leopard Frog breeds in winter through early spring. Eggs are laid in clumps in shallow water. They hatch in a week to ten days. Tadpoles metamorphose in two to three months. The Southern Leopard Frog is nocturnal and primarily eats insects and other small invertebrates. It is found in all fresh water habitats and occasionally in brackish water. It is hunted for its legs. Both Southern and Northern Leopard Frogs are commonly used in biology classes.

Range

Southern Leopard Frog Region Map This frog is found throughout Georgia, except for the mountains of extreme northern Georgia around Blairsville.

Conservation Status

The Southern Leopard Frog has a wide distribution throughout the southeastern United States and is common throughout its range. It is very adaptable, living in a variety of habitats. It is not under any threat at present.

Similar Species

In Georgia, the Pickerel Frog is the only frog that can be easily mistaken for the Southern Leopard Frog. Frogs from the Coastal Plain or the lower Piedmont are more likely to be Leopard Frogs. To identify Pickerel Frogs from the mountains or upper Piedmont, look for a yellow to orange wash on the belly and the inner portions of the back legs, and squarish blotches on the back. These are characteristic of Pickerel Frogs.