Southern Leopard Frog

Rana sphenocephala

Southern Leopard Frogs are large, slender frogs, growing up to five inches long. They are green and brown with large dark spots on their back and sides.

Leopard frogs have light-colored dorsolateral ridges (raised lines on their backs). They also have a light stripe along their jaw.

Southern Leopard Frogs can be found just about anywhere there is shallow water, including lakes, ponds, marshes, and streams.

Denny Cannon, The Frogs and Toads of Tennessee

Mark Moran

Leopard frogs are nocturnal, so they are most active at night. During the day, they hide among plants on the shore. If they are startled, they will leap into the water, making a sharp turn underneath the surface. They will come back up hidden among some plants.

The breeding season for Southern Leopard Frogs is March to June. Female frogs will lay egg masses of up to 4,000 eggs in shallow water. Usually they attach to plant stems.

Tadpoles hatch from the eggs and eat algae and other small organisms in the water, including small insect larvae and water fleas. Tadpoles will transform to adult frogs by late Spring or early Summer.

After mating, adult frogs will wander away from the water, into woods or fields, hiding among plants or under logs. As Summer ends, frogs return to the water.

Adult Southern Leopard Frogs eat a wide variety of prey, including earthworms, spiders, centipedes, and many types of insects.

© 1995 Robert English, LEAPS

Predators of leopard frogs include Raccoons, Virginia Opossum, large fish, snakes, turtles, larger frogs, and herons. Tadpoles and eggs are especially vulnerable and may be eaten by insects, turtles, leeches, fish, salamanders, or crayfish.

Southern Leopard Frogs can leap several feet.

The picture below shows a young leopard frog resting on the tail of a Common Snapping Turtle.

Mark Moran

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Southern Leopard Frog Call #1
Sound
Unknown
Southern Leopard Frog Call #2
Sound
Unknown
Southern Leopard Frog Call #3
Sound
Unknown

Relationships in Nature:

PREY/FOOD
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Green Algae

Great Blue Heron

Tussock Sedge

The Big Red Worm Pa

Asian Tiger Mosquito

Largmouth Bass

Common Reed

Water Flea

Bullfrog

Yellow Pond Lily

Earthworm

Raccoon

Pickerelweed

Blue Bottle Fly

Virginia Opossum

Common Cattail

Rabid Wolf Spider

Freshwater Leech

Common Duckweed

Garden Centipede

Eastern Newt

Long-leaf Pondweed

Eastern Yellow Jacket

Common Snapping Turtle

Green Algae

Common Black Ground Beetle

Northern Water Snake

Greater Bladderwort

Field Cricket

Crayfish

Bracken Fern

Differential Grasshopper

Eastern Dobsonfly

Cinnamon Fern

Clouded Sulphur

Mallard

Poison Ivy

Eastern Blood-sucking Conenose

Black Rat Snake

Spotted Jewelweed

Pennsylvania Firefly

Eastern Painted Turtle

Devil's Beggar-tick

Goldenrod Spider

Large Diving Beetle

Japanese Honeysuckle

Isopod

Striped Skunk

Spotted Joe-pye Weed

Daring Jumping Spider

Eastern Hognose Snake

Virginia Creeper

Ebony Jewelwing

Eastern Mosquitofish

Skunk Cabbage

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Red Clover

Northern Caddis Fly

Ring-billed Gull

Relationship to Humans:

Southern Leopard Frogs are raised and eaten by humans. When you see "frog legs" on a menu, it is most likely a Southern Leopard Frog. These frogs are also used in large amounts in biology classes for dissecting. Scientists have become concerned about too many frogs being used for this purpose.

Southern Leopard Frogs are also very important in the wild. They eat huge amounts of pesky and dangerous insects, such as mosquitos.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Amphibians
ORDER
Salientia
FAMILY
Ranidae
GENUS
Rana
SPECIES
Rana sphenocephala

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