Lowland Leopard Frog - Illustration by Bill Singleton

 

Lowland Leopard Frog
Rana yavapaiensis

 

The lowland leopard frog has brown to green skin with spots on its back, and yellow skin on the bottom. The legs are striped.1

Habitat: This species is generally restricted to permanent waters below elevations of 3,000 feet. It is found in small to medium streams, and occurs in small springs, stock ponds, and occasionally in large rivers. Populations typically occur in aquatic systems with surrounding desert scrub, semidesert grassland, or evergreen woodland.

Range: The lowland leopard frog is found in drainages of the lower Colorado river and its tributaries in Nevada, Arizona, extreme northeast Baja Calilfornia, and northern Sonora.2 Specifically in Arizona, it is found in drainage of the Virgin River, the Colorado River near Yuma, and west, central and southeast Arizona, south of the Mogollon Rim.

Reproduction: R. yavapaiensis breeds February through April, and depending on conditions, sometimes in the fall.1 Eggs hatch in 3 to 18 days, and tadpoles from winter ­ spring eggs usually transform into frogs in June ­ August of the same year.

Diet: The frog feeds on small insects. As a tadpole, it feeds on algae, plant tissue, and small insects.2

Status: The lowland leopard frog is a state candidate for threatened species in Arizona and is a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Species of Concern. It appears on the Forest Service Sensitive Species List.

Lowland Leopard Frog in Pima County: The lowland leopard frog is no longer found in much of Pima County due to the destruction of habitat, possible water pollution, and introduced species such as the bullfrog. It is found in the Tanque Verde, Pantano, Rincon, and Cienega Creek watersheds. Protection of the remaining habitat is essential for the existance of the frog in Pima County.

References:

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

2. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 1997. Rana yavapaiensis. Unpublished abstracts, Heritage Data Management System.


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