northern leopard frog

(Rana pipiens)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

northern leopard frog

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

S4 - Apparently Secure

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common and abundant

Habitat

Damp woodlands and grasslands, always near lakes, ponds, rivers, slow streams, marshes, or wetlands.

Lifespan

5 to 7 years

Size

2 to 3½

Photo by Bill Reynolds

Identification

This is a slim, medium-sized, widely recognized, spotted frog. It is 2 to 3½ long at maturity. Males are smaller than females.

The back (dorsal surface) is smooth to moderately rough. Background color and spotting is variable and there are two distinct color morphs. Most adults have 2 to 4 rows of black spots on a green background. Some adults have a greenish-brown or brown background. The Burnsi color morph is brown or green with no dorsal spots. The less common Kandiyohi color morph is brown with flecks of white, brown, or black between the spots. Juveniles may have few or no dorsal spots. The spots on all adults have a whitish or yellowish bordered. Prominent folds on each side of the back (dorsolateral) extend from the head to near the vent. The folds are light on top and dark at the base. They do not angle inward near the vent (anal opening). Males have a pair of inflatable vocal sacs on their shoulders. During breeding season these appear as areas of loose skin.

The belly is white or cream-colored.

There is a white stripe in the upper jaw. The ear covering (tympanum) is smaller than the eye.

The hind legs have dark horizontal bands. The inside of the thighs of the hind legs are pale with a greenish tint. The feet are webbed. Males have thick, dark thumb pads.

 
Voice

A low pitched snore, lasting 2 to 4 seconds, and occasional clucks or croaks.

 
Similar
Species

Pickerel frog (Rana palustris) has a light tan background. The spots are squarish. The inside of the thighs of the hind legs are bright yellow. They are found only in trout streams in southeastern Minnesota.


Tadpole Food

Algae, plant tissue, organic debris, and probably some small invertebrates

 
Adult Food

Insects, spiders, snails, earthworms, and other small terrestrial invertebrates.

 
Life Cycle

Adults breed in April and May. With the male still attached, the female lays a single round mass of between 300 and 6,500 black eggs, attached to vegetation just below the water surface. The eggs hatch in 1 to 2 months and tadpoles metamorphose into adults in about 50 days, depending on the weather. After metamorphosis they leave the pond to feed on dry land and to migrate. Mass migrations often occur after heavy rains.

Adults reach sexual maturity in 2 or 3 years. They hibernate usually in deep water that does not freeze completely. They live 5 to 7 years.

 
Behavior

 


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 7, 11, 12, 13, 24, 29, 73.

Comments

This is the most common frog in Minnesota.

Taxonomy
In 2006 most North American true frogs were transferred from the genus Rana to the genus Lithobates by Frost et al. The change was controversial and was not accepted by all authorities. In 2008 and 2009 the change was rejected by Stuart, Pauly et al., and other systematic reviews, and in 2009 North American true frogs were returned to their previous classification. Lithobates is once again a subgenus of Rana. ITIS37 and Amphibian Species of the World61 continue to use the 2006-08 classification. NCBI34 and UniProt33 use the new classification. AmphibiaWeb60 suggests using the original name followed by the subgenus name in parentheses, in this case Rana (Pantherana) pipiens.

Malformations
An outbreak of deformities in this species was discovered by school children in LeSueur, Minnesota, in 1995. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency researched the problem from 1997 through 2000, when funding for the research was discontinued. The cause of the malformations remains unknown. According to the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII), research suggests that there is no single cause. The four major environmental factors contributing to the malformations are contaminants, nutritional deficiencies, parasites, and injuries from predators.


Taxonomy

Superorder:

Batrachia (amphibians)

 

Order:

Anura (frogs and toads)

 

Suborder:

Neobatrachia

 

Superfamily:

Ranoidea

 

Family:

Ranidae (true frogs)

 

Subfamily:

Raninae

 

Genus:

Rana

 

Subgenus:

Pantherana

 
Synonyms

Lithobates pipiens

 
Common
Names

northern leopard frog


 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

dorsal

Referring to the upper surface or back.

 

dorsolateral folds

Two parallel lines, one on each side of the back, of raised glandular skin between the back and the sides of most North American frogs of the family Ranidae.

 

tympanum

The circular, disk-like membrane that covers the ear opening of some reptiles and amphibians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

Visitor Photos

   
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Bill Reynolds


  northern leopard frog   northern leopard frog
       
  northern leopard frog    

       
       
       

MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos

   
  northern leopard frog   northern leopard frog
       
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Camera

     

Slideshows

   
  Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)  
 
About

The State Amphibian of Vermon

http://www.netstate.com/states/symb/amphibians/vt_northern_leopard_frog.htm

http://community.middlebury.edu/~herpatlas/spp_pages/sppR-pipiens.php

 
     
  Rana pipiens (Northern Leopard Frog)
Allen Chartier
 
  Rana pipiens (Northern Leopard Frog)  
     
  Rana pipiens
Mike Pingleton
 
  Rana pipiens  
     
  Northern Leoprd Frog
krloucks
 
  Northern Leoprd Frog  

 

slideshow

     

Visitor Videos

   
Share your video of this amphibian.

     
     

Other Videos

 
  Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)
WisCBMnetwork
 
   
 
About

Published on Apr 30, 2012

No description available.

 
     
  The Northern Leopard Frog (Ranidae: Lithobates/Rana pipiens)
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Dec 21, 2009

A brief contemplative look at the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens), a common but possibly declining species in the upper midwest of the United States. Specimens shown here were filmed in northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota in the summer, 2009.

 
     
  Northern leopard frogs calling
HerpNet
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 20, 2009

Northern leopard frogs calling

 
     
  Northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) mating call
Bart B. Van Bockstaele
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Apr 21, 2009

This is a northern leopard frog calling for a mate. Others can be heard in the background.

See also the article on http://thamno.com/blog/?p=1260

 
     
  Leopard frog (Rana pipiens) calling
Ryan M. Bolton
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 2, 2007

Leopard frog calling.

© Ryan M. Bolton

www.artofconservation.ca/RMBolton

 
     
  Northern Leopard Frog (Ranidae: Lithobates/Rana pipiens) Anterior View
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on May 14, 2010

Photographed at Kellys Slough NWR, North Dakota (14 May 2010). This is the largest and thinnest leopard frog I've ever seen. I believe that this is a female en route to a wetlands area, 50 m distant, where males are calling this late afternoon.

 
     
  Uploaded on Mar 29, 2007
lvulgaris
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Mar 29, 2007

Vocalizing Northern Leopard Frogs from New Jersey. Poor video, but mainly for documentation purposes

 
     

 

Camcorder

         

Visitor Sightings

   
Share your sighting of this amphibian.

Sandralee Branzovsky
8/4/2016

Location: Long lake, Grandy, MN

always surprised to see this frog.  Not very many around anymore.


Bill Reynolds
9/5/2014

Location: Pennington Co Mn

northern leopard frog


     
     
 

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