Chiricahua Leopard Frog  - Illustration by Bill Singleton

Chiricahua Leopard Frog

Rana chiricahuensis


The Chiricahua leopard frog is a medium sized, stout bodied frog with green-brown skin, many spots on its back, and pale yellow to white skin below.1 Adults are distinguished from other leopard frogs by their unique "salt and pepper" thigh pattern.

R. chiricahuensis is highly aquatic and can be found in rocky streams with deep rock-bound pools, ponds, earthen stock tanks, and permanent springs.1 Surrounding upland vegetation includes oak and mixed oak and pine woodlands, and ranges into areas of chaparral, grassland, and desert.2

This species is found in the mountain regions of central and southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and the southeastern mountains of Arizona and adjacent Sonora, Mexico.2 Specifically in Arizona, it is found in the montane central part of the state, east and south of the Mogollon Rim. It is also found in the southeastern montane sector and adjacent Sonora.2 Elevational range is from 3,500 to 8,040 feet, and 1,219 to 4,023 feet at the Arizona/Mexico border.

At low elevations, the frog breeds from mid-February through June, while at higher elevations breeding occurs from May until August.

The Chiricahua leopard frog feeds on many insects and fresh-water shrimp. Tadpoles feed on algae and other minute organisms.2

Due to declining numbers, in August 2001, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed with several conservation groups to list the Chiricahua leopard frog for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The frog was listed in 2002.

Concern in Pima County:
The Chiricahua leopard frog no longer exists in much of Pima County due to the destruction of habitat and introduction of species such as the bullfrog. R. chiricahuensis has been found in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge and Las Cienegas NCA, and the Santa Rita mountains. Protection of the remaining habitat is essential for the existence of the leopard frog in Pima County.



1. Stebbins, Robert. C. 1985. Western Reptiles and Amphibians. pp 91-92.

2. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 1997. Rana chiricahuensis. Unpublished abstract, Heritage Data Management System. Rana chiricahuensis. Unpublished abstract, Heritage Data Management System.


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