Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Southern Leopard Frog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Southern Leopard Frog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith

Former Name:

Size:
  • 2 - 3½ inches 
  • Record - 5 inches

  • Appearance:
  • The “leopard” in its name is due to large dark spots on its back, sides and front legs, but the amount of these is highly variable.
  • Its body color is green or brown or combination of the two.
  • Diagnostic feature, which is found in most but not all specimens, is a white spot in the center of the tympanum (ear).
  • It also has a light line above the upper lip and another along the dorsolateral ridge, which extends from behind the eye to the groin.

  • Habitats:
  • Can be found in all types of shallow freshwater wetlands, and is one of our few amphibians that can also be found in brackish marshes.
  • On warm rainy nights, and during summer can be found great distances from wetlands, anywhere there is green herbaceous cover.
  • Photo of  Little Mill Creek, habitat for Southern Leopard Frog
    Photo of Little Mill Creek, habitat for Southern Leopard Frog


    How to Find:
  • One of our few fall-breeding species, listen for its distinctive low, short chuckle-like guttural trill in October and November, then again from February through April.
  • Calls day and night.
  • Typically only one or few individuals calling at any one site.
  • Usually found in same wetland with peepers and Fowler’s toads.
  • This is the most common true frog on the Coastal Plain.

  • Distribution in Maryland:
    Southern Leopard frogs are common in the coastal plain of Maryland.
    Maryland Distribution Map for Southern Leopard Frog 
    For More Information: