Anura

Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

Southern Leopard Frog

Family: True Frogs (Family Ranidae)

Common Name:
Southern Leopard Frog
Scientific Name:
Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius

Southern Leopard Frog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Southern Leopard Frog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith


Size:
  • 2 - 3½ inches 
  • Record - 5 inches

  • Appearance:
  • The “leopard” in its name is due to large dark spots on its back, sides and front legs, but the amount of these is highly variable.
  • Its body color is green or brown or combination of the two.
  • Diagnostic feature, which is found in most but not all specimens, is a white spot in the center of the tympanum (ear).
  • It also has a light line above the upper lip and another along the dorsolateral ridge, which extends from behind the eye to the groin.

  • Habitats:
  • Can be found in all types of shallow freshwater wetlands, and is one of our few amphibians that can also be found in brackish marshes.
  • On warm rainy nights, and during summer can be found great distances from wetlands, anywhere there is green herbaceous cover.
  • Photo of  Little Mill Creek, habitat for Southern Leopard Frog
    Photo of Little Mill Creek, habitat for Southern Leopard Frog


    How to Find:
  • One of our few fall-breeding species, listen for its distinctive low, short chuckle-like guttural trill in October and November, then again from February through April.
  • Calls day and night.
  • Typically only one or few individuals calling at any one site.
  • Usually found in same wetland with peepers and Fowler’s toads.
  • This is the most common true frog on the Coastal Plain.

  • Distribution in Maryland:
    Maryland Distribution Map for Southern Leopard Frog