Lithobates pipiens (Schreber 1782)
lĭth-ō-bā'-tēz — pĭp-ē-əns

Conservation Status:

State: None

Federal: None
NatureServe State: SNA - Not Applicable
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure

Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

The Northern Leopard Frog is a medium-sized green or brownish frog. They vary in length between about 5 and 11 cm. The back has dark light-bordered round spots. Its underside is white or cream colored. Spotting may be reduced or absent on young. The dorsolateral folds, are well-defined, entire, not angled inward. The upper jaw has a white stripe. The male has a swollen, darkened thumb base and loose skin between jaw and shoulder (deflated vocal sac) during breeding season. Tadpoles are dark brown or olive to gray on top, often with gold spots.

All specimens shown below are cataloged in their respective collections as Rana pipiens. They are most likely either R. blairi or R. sphenocephala, and are need of examination. 
This species is known from Great Slave Lake and Hudson Bay, Canada, south to Kentucky and New Mexico, USA (Stebbins 1985, Powerll, Conant, and Collins 2016). It has a spotty distribution in the west, where it has been introduced in many localities
It approaches Kansas from the northeast along the Missouri River in Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri, and western Kansas in east-central Colorado.

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 97
  • 97
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 0
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Anderson (1); Cherokee (21); Cowley (3); Crawford (1); Doniphan (1); Douglas (32); Franklin (2); Greenwood (1); Labette (4); Leavenworth (2); Linn (2); Miami (4); Unknown (9); Wabaunsee (13); Wilson (1);

Natural History:
The Northern Leopard Frog lives in a wide variety of habitats: grassland, brushland,forest, as well as, agricultural lands and in developed areas such as golf courses. It is cold-adapted and can be found up to an elevation of 11,000 feet.It prefers permanent bodies of calm water, with aquatic vegetation.
They breed from mid-March to early June. Egg clusters are globular, (2-6 inches in diameter), and often attached to vegetation. Each cluster can contain up to about 6,500 eggs. 
The call is snore-like, and interspersed with grunting and chuckling and lasting from 1 to 5 seconds. 
They may forage far from water in damp meadows. If frightened on land, it rushes toward water in a zigzag pattern of jumps. Specimens are most easily found at night, with the aid of a flashlight.

Occurrence Activity:
The blue dates denote chorusing actity. The red dates are other occurrences. The darker a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.

Audio recording by Keith Coleman.

Chorusing Phenology: The black outlined dots denote the Julian date (day of the year; 1 January = 1 to 31 December = 365) an observation was made. The thin red line depicts the range of dates between the beginning of the first, and end of the fourth quartile (excluding outliers; Tukey method). The thick light blue bar represents the second and third quartile (interquartile range; the middle 50% of all observations). Only one observation per Julian date is included in the graphs; so a date with multiple observations carries the same weight as a date with only one observation. The vertical bars correspond to the 12 months of the year; January through December.
# Unique Obervations: ; Range: ; Interquartile range: ;

Observation Type: (of recorded types)
The Northen Leopard Frog approaches the borders of Kansas in the northwest (Hammerson, 1996) and the extreme northeast (Johnson, 1997).

1857 Hallowell, Edward. Notice of a collection of reptiles from Kansas and Nebraska presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences, by Doctor Hammond, U. S. A. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 8():238-253
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1976 Miller, Larry L. KHS visits Elk County. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (15):1-2
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1987 Coleman, Keith. Annual KHS Field Trip held at Atchison State Lake. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (68):5-6
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
2005 Hillis, David M. and Thomas P. Wilcox Phylogeny of the New World True Frogs (Rana) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34(2):299-314
2006 Altig, Ronald, Roy W. McDiarmid, Kimberly A. Nichols, and Paul C. Ustach Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key Electronic files accessible at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. ():
2006 Frost, Darrel R, Taran Grant, Julian Faivovich, Raoul H. Bain, Alexander Haas, Celio F. B. Haddad, Rafael O. De Sa, Alan Channing, Mark Wilkinson, Stephen C. Donnellan, Christopher J. Raxworthy, Jonathan A. Campbell, Boris L. Blotto, Paul Moler, Robert C. Drewes, Ronald A. Nussbaum, John D. Lynch, David M. Green, and Ward C. Wheeler. The amphibian tree of life Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (297):370
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
Account Last Updated:
4/19/2018 2:18:43 PM