PLAINS LEOPARD FROG
Lithobates blairi
(Mecham, Littlejohn, Oldham, Brown & Brown 1973)


lĭth-ō-bā'-tēz — blăr-ī




An adult Plains Leopard Frog from Hamilton County, Kansas. Image © Travis W. Taggart.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
An mass of hatching Plains Leopard Frog eggs in Barber County, Kansas. © Travis W. Taggart.
A tadpole of Rana blairi. Image © Altig et al. (2006).

Description:
Ground color is brown to green with darker, light-edged, irregular spots along the back, sides, and limbs. It has a distinct light line along the upper jaw. The tympanum (ear drum) has a light spot in the center. They have a light-colored fold of skin running down each side from the eye to the legs, which is broken and offset toward the center near the legs. The cream-colored belly is unspotted, and the groin and ventral surface of the thighs have a noticeably yellow color.
Adults normally 51-95 mm (2-3¾ inches) in SVL; largest Kansas specimen: sex undetermined (FHSM 3131) from Montgomery County with SVL of 107 mm (4¼ inches) collected by L. S. Oborny on 15 April 1966; maximum length throughout range: 4 3/8 inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
Found statewide, except the extreme southeastern corner, and may be expected in any wetland situation.

Locality Dot Map:
The brown shaded areas () show the boundaries of properties in public or institutional ownership that contain ecological resources that merit some level of protection (KBS file).
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record). Export Google Earth (.kml)
Open icons indicate questionable records; Click on a marker to view details.
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 2,257 Total Records 
  • 1,501 Museum Vouchers 
  • 756 Other Observations 
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences): Some occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map.
Allen (14); Anderson (9); Atchison (4); Barber (38); Barton (17); Bourbon (8); Brown (7); Butler (19); Chase (34); Chautauqua (6); Cherokee (30); Cheyenne (12); Clark (22); Clay (9); Cloud (10); Coffey (115); Comanche (45); Cowley (16); Crawford (23); Decatur (3); Dickinson (6); Doniphan (10); Douglas (221); Edwards (5); Elk (7); Ellis (139); Ellsworth (12); Finney (17); Ford (15); Franklin (11); Geary (12); Gove (10); Graham (14); Grant (1); Gray (10); Greeley (1); Greenwood (62); Hamilton (8); Harper (29); Harvey (39); Haskell (3); Hodgeman (3); Jackson (33); Jefferson (17); Jewell (23); Johnson (12); Kearney (3); Kingman (16); Kiowa (12); Labette (45); Lane (19); Leavenworth (24); Lincoln (5); Linn (9); Logan (16); Lyon (11); Marion (29); Marshall (19); McPherson (19); Meade (34); Miami (23); Mitchell (9); Montgomery (48); Morris (6); Morton (56); Nemaha (20); Neosho (15); Ness (24); Norton (2); Osage (36); Osborne (14); Ottawa (2); Pawnee (12); Phillips (17); Pottawatomie (39); Pratt (49); Rawlins (7); Reno (42); Republic (3); Rice (6); Riley (19); Rooks (5); Rush (12); Russell (36); Saline (14); Scott (21); Sedgwick (15); Seward (7); Shawnee (16); Sheridan (13); Sherman (4); Smith (2); Stafford (17); Stanton (4); Stevens (1); Sumner (25); Thomas (2); Trego (28); Unknown (3); Wabaunsee (63); Wallace (8); Washington (16); Wichita (1); Wilson (10); Woodson (51); Wyandotte (9);

Natural History:
They breed in late spring in ponds and ditches where they deposit a large mass of eggs that float near the surface. The call consists of 2-4 repeated guttural notes chuuuck-chuuuckchuuuck. 
These frogs will forage far from water during the summer in search of invertebrate food. The stomachs of several Plains Leopard Frog examined by Hartman (1906) contained beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, a worm, water-snails, myriapods, and one solpugid.


Occurrence Activity:
Chorusing:

Audio recording by Keith Coleman.

Chorusing Phenology: The black dots illustrate the actual Julian date (day of the year; 1 January = 1 to 31 December = 365) observations were 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: 639; Range: 09 Mar to 31 Aug; Interquartile range: 14 Apr to 13 Jun;

Remarks:
First reported in Kansas by Hallowell (1856). The earliest existing specimen is from 1891(USNM 45922).
Largely confined to aquatic areas, but may travel significant distances over land during the mid-summer.
Burt (1935) reported that Mr. Cornelius Rogers found a Plain-bellied Watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster) feeding on Plains Leopard Frogs (Rana blairi) in Barber County, Kansas, on 7 April 1934.

Bibliography:
1856 Hallowell, Edward Notice of a collection of reptiles from Kansas and Nebraska, presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences, by Dr. Hammond, U.S.A. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 8():238-253
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
1906 Hartman, Frank A. Food habits of Kansas lizards and batrachians. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 20():225-229
1925 Linsdale, Jean M. Land Vertebrates of a Limited Area in Eastern Kansas. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 312pp.
1926 Forney, Elsie A. The fauna of an artificial pond. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 76pp.
1927 Linsdale, Jean M. Amphibians and reptiles of Doniphan County, Kansas. Copeia 1927(164):75-81
1929 Taylor, Edward H. List of reptiles and batrachians of Morton County, Kansas, reporting species new to the state fauna. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 19(6):63-65
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
1932 Mansfield, Robert R. A Comparative study of the Helminthes of the Anura from five given localities. Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 35pp.
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
1934 Brennan, Lawrence A. A check list of the amphibians and reptiles of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 37():189-191
1935 Brennan, Lawrence A. Notes on the Distribution of Amphibia and Reptilia of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 114pp.
1935 Burt, Charles E. Further records of the ecology and distribution of amphibians and reptiles in the middle west. American Midland Naturalist 16(3):311-366
1936 Hibbard, Claude W. and A. Byron Leonard. The occurrence of Bufo punctatus in Kansas . Copeia 1936(2):114
1937 Brennan, Lawrence A. A study of the habitat of reptiles and amphibians of Ellis County, Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 40():341-347
1944 Marr, John C. Notes on amphibians and reptiles from the central United States. American Midland Naturalist 32(2):478-490
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1962 Gish, Charles D. The Herpetofauna of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 34pp.
1973 Mecham, John S., Murray J. Littlejohn, Robert S. Oldham, Lauren E. Brown, and Jill R. Brown. A new species of the Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens complex) from the plains of the central United States. Occasional Papers the Museum Texas Tech University (18):1-11
1974 Pace, Ann E. Systematic and biological studies of the leopard frogs (Rana pipiens complex) of the United States. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan (148):1-140
1975 Rundquist, Eric M. First KHS field trip yields three county records. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (7):1-3
1976 Caldwell, Janalee P. and Gregory. Glass. Vertebrates of the Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Pages 62-76 in Preliminary inventory of the biota of Woodson County State Fishing Lake and Game Management Area. Report No. 5. State Biological Survey of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Knight, James L. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians and reptiles of Cheyenne County, Kansas, Report Number 15. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 19pp.
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1980 Clarke, Robert F. Herptiles and fishes of the western Arkansas River in Kansas. United States Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 55pp.
1982 Fitch, Henry S. Resources of a snake community in prairie-woodland habitat of northeastern Kansas. Pages 83-97 in Herpetological communities: A symposium of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles and the Herpetologists League, August 1977.  Wildlife Research Reports 12. 239 pp. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D. C. pp.
1983 Hillis, David M., John S. Frost, and D. A. Wright. Phylogeny and biogeography of the Rana pipiens complex: A biochemical evaluation. Systematic Zoology 32(2):132-143
1985 Hillis, David M. Evolutionary Genetics and Systematics of New World Frogs of the Genus Rana: An Analysis of Ribosomal DNA, Allozymes, and Morphology. Dissertation. University of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1991 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cimarron National Grasslands, Morton County, Kansas. U. S. Forest Service, Elkhart, Kansas. 60pp.
1991 Fitch, Henry S. Reptiles and amphibians of the Kansas ecological reserves. Pages 71-74 in Multidisciplinary Guidebook 4. Kansas Academy of Science, Lawrence. pp.
1992 Brown, Lauren E. Rana blairi. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (536):1-6
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. An estimate of numbers of Plains leopard frogs at a site in northeastern Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter 102():14-15
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1996 Howdeshell, Kembra L. Effects of Estrogen on Selected Reproductive Parameters of the Male Plains Leopard Frog, Rana pipiens. Thesis. Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. 56pp.
1996 Miller, Larry L. Many amphibian and reptile species identified during KHS 1996 fall field trip to Wabaunsee County. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (106):2-3
1996 Miller, Larry L. Third graders conduct amphibian and reptile field study. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (106):15
2000 Van Doren, Mark D. and Curtis J. Schmidt. A herpetological survey of the Fort Larned National Historic Site, Pawnee County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (120):8-11
2001 Schmidt, Curtis J. The amphibians, turtles, and reptiles of the Smoky Valley Ranch, Logan County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):9-11
2002 Gubanyi, James E.. Osage County herp count I. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2002 Miller, Larry L. Osage County herp count II. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2002 Miller, Larry L. Shawnee County herp count. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):15
2002 Riedle, J. Daren and A. Hynek. Amphibian and reptile inventory of the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, Labette County, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (2):18-20
2002 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the KHS 2002 fall field Trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (4):11-13
2002 Taggart, Travis W. Results of the spring 2002 KHS field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (3):6-7
2004 Delisle, Jennifer M. and William H. Busby Biological inventory for vertebrates at Fort Larned National Historic Site of the southern plains network. Natural Heritage Inventory, Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 61pp.
2004 Schmidt, Curtis J. and Travis W. Taggart Rana blairi (Plains Leopard Frog) new state maximum length. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (12):17
2005 Hillis, David M. and Thomas P. Wilcox Phylogeny of the New World True Frogs (Rana) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34(2):299-314
2005 Smith, Brian E. and Douglas A. Keinath. Plains Leopard Frog (Rana blairi): A technical conservation assessment. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region. 47pp.
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 http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/tadpole/. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. ():
2006 Frost, D., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. Bain, A. Haas, C. Haddad, R. De Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. Donnellan, C. Raxworthy, J. Campbell, B. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. Nussbaum, J. Lynch, D. Green & W. 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.
2010 Miller, Larry L. 2010 Investigation of the Checkered Garter Snake in Kansas with notes on other Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles encountered. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 31pp.
2011 McMartin, David C. U. S. Army 2011 Fort Leavenworth Herpetofaunal Survey: 23 April - 09 May 2011. Privately printed, Leavenworth, Kansas. 33pp.
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2016 Pittman, Galen L., Henry S. Fitch, and W. Dean Kettle Vertebrate animals on the Fitch Natural History Reservation (1948-2002) Kansas Biological Survey Report Number 188, Lawrence. 48pp.
Account Last Updated:
7/29/2019 1:52:46 PM


Travis W. Taggart © 2019 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University