Southern Leopard Frog, Rana sphenocephala / (Lithobates sphenocephala)
The southern leopard frog, Rana sphenocephala,
is part of the leopard frog complex that was once thought to be a series
of geographic races rather than distinct species of similar looking frogs.
Both the northern and southern leopard frogs are found in Kentucky.
The southern leopard frog occurs in abundance in all of the western part
of the state, but sparingly in the knobs or the southern bluegrass.
This species avoids the Ordivician limestone of the bluegrass region and
the steep topography of eastern Kentucky. Ranging in length from
3 to 5 inches, this frog can be distinguished from the northern leopard
frog by its light spot in the center of its tympanum, its longer pointed
head, and only a few dark spots on the side of the body. It will
breed in a variety of habitats including ditches, wet meadows, seasonal
ponds, wooded swamps and sediment basins. Although the primary breeding
season is in March and early April, southern leopard frogs have been known
to breed in every month of the year. The chuckling calls of a chorus
of these frogs make it sound as if the whole swamp is laughing.
Here to Hear My Call