Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)
Frogs and Toads
20 species in Maryland
Frogs and toads are amphibians that do not typically have a tail as adults. The hind legs are longer than the front legs and are modified for jumping. The body is relatively short and the head is not separated from the body by a discernable neck. The larval or tadpole stage of most frogs and toads is entirely aquatic. Tadpoles possess a tail and do not have legs until late in development, just prior to metamorphosis to the adult form. Frog and toad tadpoles with legs can be distinguished from aquatic salamander larvae by the lack of a discernable neck, the presence of distinctly longer back limbs compared to the front limbs, and the absence of external gills, as are seen in salamander larvae.
There are five families and twenty species of anurans that can be found in Maryland.
Below is a list of the five families and the number of species in each family.
Number of Species
Click on a picture or species name for profiles
of each of the 20 species of Maryland’s frogs and toads.
|Common Name||Scientific Name||State Status|
|Eastern American Toad||Anaxyrus americanus americanus|
|Fowler’s Toad||Anaxyrus fowleri|
|Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad||Gastrophryne carolinensis||Endangered|
|Eastern Spadefoot Toad||Scaphiopus holbrookii|
|American Bullfrog||Lithobates catesbeiana|
|Carpenter Frog||Lithobates virgatipes||Watchlist|
|Northern Green Frog||Lithobates clamitans melanota|
|Northern Leopard Frog||Lithobates pipiens||Introduced|
|Pickerel Frog||Lithobates palustris|
|Southern Leopard Frog||Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius
|Wood Frog||Lithobates sylvaticus|
|Barking Treefrog||Hyla gratiosa||Endangered|
|Gray Treefrog||Hyla versicolor|
|Cope’s Gray Treefrog||Hyla chrysoscelis|
|Green Treefrog||Hyla cinerea|
|Mountain Chorus Frog||Pseudacris brachyphona||Endangered|
|New Jersey Chorus Frog||Pseudacris kalmi|
|Northern Spring Peeper||Pseudacris crucifer|
|Upland Chorus Frog||Pseudacris feriarum|
|Eastern Cricket Frog||Acris crepitans crepitans|
A number of documents were used to compile the species descriptions. Two documents provided the most information: Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania by Arthur C. Hulse, C. J. McCoy, and Ellen Censky (2001), which includes a key to tadpoles using features other than mouthparts. Amphibians and Reptiles of Delmarva by James F. and Amy Wendt White (2002), which provides descriptions of many features of tadpoles from Delmarva that can be used to distinguish species. These books are recommended to anyone seeking more comprehensive information on Maryland anuran ecology and identification.
In addition to physical descriptions of the anurans found in Maryland, maps depicting the distribution of each species in Maryland are also included. The distribution maps include historical distribution information that was compiled by Harris (1975). White and White (2002) also provided a great deal of the historical and recent distributional information for frogs and toads on Maryland’s eastern shore. Additional recent distribution information was provided by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Biological Stream Survey and Natural Heritage Program, and from additional literature where appropriate.
Photo of Upland Chorus Frog, courtesy of John White
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
To see older newsletters, please visit the MARA Resource Page.
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.