Discover Maryland's Herps

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

True Frogs (Family Ranidae)

Carpenter Frog
Lithobates virgatipes

Adult Carpenter Frog, photo courtesy of Corey Wickliffe
Adult Carpenter Frog, photo courtesy of Corey Wickliffe

Size

  • 1⅝ - 2⅝ inches
  • Appearance

  • Four golden brown lateral stripes run down its back and sides, two per body half, and
  • No dorsolateral ridges (a ridge running from behind the eye down the back separating back from side in many ranid frogs) are the key diagnostic features.
  • Close-up of Adult Carpenter Frog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith
    Close-up of Adult Carpenter Frog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith

    Photo of Habitat for Carpenter Frog, courtesy of Jay Killian
    Photo of Habitat for Carpenter Frog, courtesy of Jay Killian

    Habitat

  • Closely associated with sphagnum bogs, it may also be found in emergent stands of herbaceous vegetation.
  • Only found on the Delmarva, this species is primarily found in Delmarva (Carolina) Bays, which are seasonally-wet elliptical-shaped depressional wetlands.
  • How to Find

  • Listen for their call “ric-up, ric-up, ric-up” usually repeated 2-3 times, which has been likened to the sound of a carpenter’s hammer from a distance.
  • Breed from mid-April through June.
  • Very hard to find in the water, as they lie submerged with only eyes exposed, then quickly dive when threatened. 
  • May call while submerged.
  • Calls day or night.
  • Status

  • State listed as Watchlist, indicating rare to uncommon.
  • If you find any please contact DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service.
  • Maryland Distribution Map
    Maryland Distribution Map for Carpenter Frog

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    Maryland Amphibian
    and Reptile Atlas Project

    "A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

    For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.

    The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.