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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

Identification Terms - Leopard Frogs


The Leopard Frogs are both variable in pattern and similar to each other, making it difficult to distinguish species. These frogs can be divided into two arbitrary groups based on the form of the dorsolateral folds. These are lines of raised glandular skin in an area between the back and the sides. In North American frogs there are usually two (when present) running parallel to the midline of the body, as in the diagrams below. In three species of Leopard Frogs this line is unbroken and in four others two it is broken and set in towards the midline near the groin. See the two figures below.
dorsolateral folds dorsolateral folds
Pickeral Frog, Rana palustris
Northern Leopard Frog, Rana pipiens
Southern Leopard Frog, Rana sphenocephala
Rio Grande Leopard Frog, Rana belandieri
Plains Leopard Frog, Rana blairi
Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Rana chiricahuensis
Lowland Leopard Frog, Rana yavapaiensis

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