Natural Area Preservation

Leopard Frog

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Rana pipiens

Identifying Features

  • 2 to 3.5 inches long; green, greenish brown, or brown upper body with rounded dark spots. Dark spot above each eye and on the snout.  White line stretches from the nose to the shoulder above the upper lip.
  • Generally abundant over most of area until late 1960s and early 1970s, they suffered a notable population decline due to unregulated harvesting and fish bait trade.  Beginning to rebound slightly in the City.
  • Usually over-winter in permanent waters - on bottom or under the edges of rocks or logs, or under a layer of silt.
  • In spring migrate to breeding ponds, sometimes over ½ mile away.
  • Summer they disperse into meadows, grassy areas or open woods.
  • Tolerate dry conditions by absorbing dew or moisture from soil through their skin.
  • Mortality for newly metamorphosed froglets may exceed 95% in first months after transformation.
  • No toxic skin secretions, although some Leopard Frogs appear to mimic the Pickerel Frog which does have toxic skin secretions.  Leopard Frogs have been known to hybridize with the Pickerel Frogs which could also explain similarities.

Call

  • Low, guttural snore, like rubbing a finger over a wet balloon.  Calls last over three seconds.

Breeding

  • Peak breeding occurs in April, though season may extend into May.
  • Females lays from 300-6000 eggs in one or more large mass, usually attached to submerged twigs or stems. Communal egg laying may aid in heat absorption or as a defense against egg predation.

Development

  • Hatching occurs in 1-3 weeks depending on water temperatures.  Transformation occurs in 2-3 months.
  • Sexual maturity is reached in 1-3 years.
  • Relatively long-lived.

Conservation Notes

  • Intolerant of acidification of breeding waters; pH of 4.8 or lower suppresses egg development.
  • Red-leg, caused by bacteria (Aeomonas hydrophila) is common in Leopard Frogs.  Thought to be associated with physiological stress.

Habitat Type

  • Ephemeral wetlands.
  • Permanent wetlands.
  • Forests.
  • Grasslands and savannas.

 

​​Natural Area Preservation
Office:
3875 E. Huron River Dr.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734.794.6627

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Dave Borneman
  Deputy Manager
Tina Stephens
  Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator
Becky Gajewski
  Stewardship Specialist
Michael Hahn
  Stewardship Specialist