Wild Florida Photo - Lithobates sphenocephala

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Lithobates sphenocephala



Synonym: Rana utricularia, Rana sphenocephalus

Florida native


The most abundant frog in the state, Florida leopard frogs inhabit freshwater habitats throughout the peninsula. Southern leopard frogs occupy the remainder of the southeastern states, west to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, north into Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, much of Kentucky and up the eastern seaboard to Long Island and Connecticut.
The existence of these as two distinct subspecies is in dispute, and there are even inconsistencies in which subspecies name is applied to each - L. sphenocephala utricularia or L. sphenocephala sphenocephala. The genus Lithobates has been recently assigned to members previously known as Rana in the Americas.
The white spot in the center of the tympanic membrane (the frog's eardrum) is distinctive for this species. They also have an unbroken dorsolateral ridge as do the northern leopard (L. pipiens) and pickeral (L. palustris) frogs. Growing to a length of 5 to 9 cm (2 - 3-1/2 in.), the color varies from tan to various shades of brown or green. They get their common name from the numerous irregular spots that on the legs can have the appearance of bands. Males are smaller than females, with the males having enlarged forearms and thumbs and paired vocal sacs that look like balloons when inflated.

Lithobates sphenocephala is a member of the Ranidae - True frogs family.

For more information on this species, visit the following link:
Florida's Frogs at IFAS page for this species

Date record last modified:
Dec 14, 2013