Order Anura
Frogs and Toads

Family Bufonidae - Toads



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Bufo americanus
Bufo americanus Holbrook - American Toad

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Description: Bufo americanus is a medium-sized toad, with adult head-body lengths ranging from 5.1 to 9.0 cm. Ground color may be gray, brown, or reddish and, when present, dorsal dark spots usually possess only one or two large warts. The venter is usually light, with chest and upper abdomen dark spotted. Parotoid glands are not in direct contact with postorbital ridges, but are usually connected to them by a spur.

Distribution and Habitat: The American toad is most often encountered during its early spring breeding season and is found statewide. It occurs in a wide variety of woodland and openland habitats that provide either permanent or temporary shallow water areas for breeding. Mathews and Echternacht (1984) reported this toad from above 1650 m in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Taxonomy: Two subspecies are recognized in Tennessee. Bufo a. americanus ranges over most of the state (Conant and Collins, 1991), with B. a. charlesmithi Bragg occurring in extreme northwestern Tennessee (Conant and Collins, 1991; Lynch, 1964; Smith, 1961). Collins (1991a) recommends further study of these two subspecies and suggests they may represent two distinct species. Evidence of hybridization of B. americanus with B. woodhousei fowleri has been reported in eastern Tennessee by Johnson (1968), in Montgomery County by Scott and Snyder (1968), in Stewart County by Snyder (1972), and in Hardeman County by Norton and Harvey (1975). In contrast, King (1939) mentions no interbreeding in Great Smoky Mountains National Park where he found both species breeding in the same pond.


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Bufo woodhousei
Bufo woodhousei Girard - Woodhouse's Toad

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Description:
Mature individuals range from 5.1 to 7.5 cm in head-body length. Ground color is variable and ranges from light gray to brick red. When present, each large dorsal dark spot usually possesses three or more small warts. Venter is usually light, but breast may have a single, central dark spot. Anterior edge of parotoids is usually in direct contact with interorbital crests.

Distribution and Habitat: Bufo woodhousei is a very common species that occurs in a wide array of rural and urban habitats throughout the state. The species may occur as high as 1494 m in the Blue Ridge Mountains of eastern Tennessee (Stevenson, 1959). Breeding typically occurs in temporary or permanent aquatic sites, including ponds, sloughs, rivers, and reservoirs.

Taxonomy: Only one subspecies, B. w. fowleri Hinckley has been reported from Tennessee (Conant and Collins, 1991).


 

Family Hylidae - Treefrogs


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Acris crepitans
Acris crepitans Baird - Northern Cricket Frog

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Description:
This species is a small hylid whose adult head-body length varies from 1.6 to 3.8 cm. Dorsal ground color is highly variable and ranges from light gray to dark brown. A dorsal median green stripe may extend from head to rump. Snout is blunt and a dark triangle usually occurs between the eyes. A dark longitudinal stripe with ragged edges is present on rear of thigh. There is typically a pair of prominent anal warts. Tips of toes are only slightly expanded. Fourth toe on hind foot has 1.5 to 2 phalanges free of webbing.

Distribution and Habitat: Acris crepitans is known to occur throughout most of Tennessee, but, based on current data, may be absent from the northeastern corner of the state. Also, the species is probably absent from elevations above 335 m in the Great Smoky Mountains (Huheey and Stupka, 1967). The northern cricket frog is most often found near permanent bodies of water such as ponds, reservoirs, sloughs, and streams.

Taxonomy: Two subspecies have been listed from Tennessee. According to Conant and Collins (1991), A. c. crepitans ranges in the southeastern two-thirds of Tennessee, while A. c. blanchardi Harper occupies the northwestern one-third.


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Acris gryllus
Acris gryllus Le Conte - Southern Cricket Frog

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Description: Acris gryllus is a small frog very similar to A. crepitans. Head-body length for adults ranges from 1.6 to 3.2 cm. Dorsal ground color varies from gray to almost black. A dorsal median green, yellow, or brown stripe may extend from head to rump. As compared to A. crepitans, the snout of A. gryllus is more pointed and the body more slender. A dark triangle may occur between the eyes. A distinct dark longitudinal stripe with smooth edges is present on rear of thigh. Scattered warts in anal region, but no prominent pair of warts near vent. Tips of toes are only slightly expanded. Fourth toe on hind foot has at least 2.5 phalanges free of webbing.

Distribution and Habitat: The southern cricket frog is known from five counties in extreme southwestern Tennessee. Like A. crepitans, A. gryllus occurs near permanent aquatic sites and may occur sympatrically with A. crepitans. However, A. gryllus may also utilize temporary pools. Norton and Harvey (1975) noted that where they occurred together, A. crepitans was usually found near the shoreline of a reservoir while A. gryllus typically occurred in well-drained areas and near roadside pools.

Taxonomy: As mapped by Conant and Collins (1991), only the nominate subspecies occurs in Tennessee. Mount (1975) indicated hybridization with A. crepitans in Alabama. No evidence of hybridization has been reported from Tennessee populations.


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Hyla avivoca
Hyla avivoca Viosca - Bird-Voiced Treefrog

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Description: Hyla avivoca is a typical treefrog, with ends of digits expanded into adhesive discs. Head-body length in mature specimens ranges from 2.8 to 4.4 cm. Dorsal ground color may be green, various shades of gray, or nearly black. A dark, irregularly shaped blotch is usually present on dorsum. Dark markings are usually present between the eyes, and limbs are usually marked with dark crossbars. A small, quadrangular light spot is present on each upper jaw below the eyes. Dorsal surface of skin is mostly smooth. Inner surfaces of thighs are washed with light green or pale yellow.

Distribution and Habitat: The bird-voiced treefrog is known from the Coastal Plain of West Tennessee and along the lower Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee to near Ashland City. Based on a preserved specimen, Dunn (1927a) reported H. phaeocrypta Cope from Nashville. The specimen was sent to the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ) and has apparently been lost. Before Viosca (1928) described H. avivoca, H. phaeocrypta was the name applied to what are now known as two species, H. avivoca and H. versicolor. Thus, Dunn's record from Nashville remains questionable. In Tennessee, this hylid occurs in bottomland sloughs and swamps along major rivers and large creeks. It is especially abundant around Reelfoot Lake.

Taxonomy: Only the nominate subspecies occurs in Tennessee (Smith, 1966). Mount (1975) and, to a lesser degree, Smith (1966) question the validity of subspecific designations for this species. Conant and Collins (1991) did not recognize subspecies.


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Hyla cinerea
Hyla cinerea (Schneider) - Green Treefrog

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Description: Adults range from 3.2 to 5.7 cm in head-body length. Tips of toes are expanded to form adhesive discs. Dorsal surface is smooth. Dorsal color ranges from light to dark green and may have a few scattered small gold flecks. A lateral, sharply defined light stripe (usually white or cream) extends from front of upper lip to about mid-body. Body form is slender.

Distribution and Habitat: The green treefrog inhabits bottomland swamps and sloughs, primarily in the Coastal Plain of West Tennessee where it is especially common around Reelfoot Lake. Hyla cinerea and H. gratiosa have often been confused in literature reports from Tennessee. Jacob (1980) provided a new distribution record for H. gratiosa based on a Hardeman County specimen in the Memphis State University Museum of Zoology (No. A2142) that was originally labeled and reported by Norton and Harvey (1975) as H. cinerea. Burt (1938) reported H. cinerea from Clarksville, Montgomery County, citing a specimen taken by Howell in 1910 that was deposited in the United States National Museum (USNM) (Burt,1937). Our study of USNM holdings and catalogue listings revealed an individual (No. 48194) of H. gratiosa, collected at Clarksville in 1910, that was incorrectly listed as H. cinerea. Thus Burt's (1938) record is probably invalid. Another museum specimen of H. cinerea (Illinois State Natural History Survey No. 9527) supposedly from Montgomery County is correctly identified; however, the locality data are suspect. According to the INHS catalogue, this specimen was taken near Clarksville during the summer of 1960 by Floyd Ford of Austin Peay State University. Dr. Ford, now deceased, was questioned by Floyd Scott about this record. According to Scott, Dr. Ford did not recall where he collected the specimen. However, he did recall conducting fieldwork at Reelfoot Lake during the summer of 1960 and believed the specimen was probably taken there. Scott has nearly 30 years of field experience in Montgomery County and has never observed H. cinerea there. However, he and a colleague (Scott and Koons, 1993) recently reported the species along the eastern shore of Kentucky Lake in nearby Stewart County. Gentry (1955-1956) reported H. cinerea from temporary sinkhole lakes in Warren County. However, considering the close similarity between H. cinerea and H. gratiosa and that subsequently only H. gratiosa has been documented in Warren and adjacent counties, it seems likely that Gentry's record actually represents H. gratiosa.

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Conant and Collins, 1991). Hybridization with H. gratiosa has been reported in Florida by Lee (1968) and in Alabama by Mount (1975). No evidence of this hybrid cross was observed in Tennessee.


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Hyla gratiosa
Hyla gratiosa Le Conte - Barking Treefrog

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Description:Hyla gratiosa is sometimes confused with H. cinerea. Adult head-body length ranges from 5.1 to 6.7 cm. Tips of toes are expanded into adhesive discs. Dorsal surface is more rugose and body form stockier than in H. cinerea. Dorsal ground color ranges from light to dark green. Round dark dorsal spots may be distinct or barely detectable, and are often lost in preservative. A lateral light line may extend from front of upper lip to mid-body but, in contrast to H. cinerea, its borders are broken and irregular.

Distribution and Habitat: In Tennessee, the distribution and habitat requirements of H. gratiosa are poorly known. The species is currently known from only three possibly disjunct geographic units. Jacob (1980), Heineke and Heineke (1984), Miller and Campbell (1995), and Alan Peterson (pers. comm.) reported specimens from the Coastal Plain in West Tennessee. Jacob's record from Hardeman County was based on a specimen taken by Norton (1971) and incorrectly identified as H. cinerea by Norton and Harvey (1975). Heineke and Heineke found a specimen on a patio in suburban Bartlett, Shelby County. Miller and Campbell found the species in Carroll County and Peterson's daughters found a specimen on a wall outside their house in Chester County. Coastal Plain populations are tentatively considered continuous with those from northwestern Alabama (Mount, 1975). The presence of H. gratiosa in limestone sinkponds on the Pennyroyal Plain (Western Highland Rim) of north-central Tennessee has been well documented by Scott and Harker (1968), Scott and Snyder (1967, 1968), and VanNorman and Scott (1987). VanNorman's and Scott's study indicates that populations of H. gratiosa in north-central Tennessee and south-central Kentucky form a continuous geographic unit that is probably disjunct from the southern part of the species' range. Rossman (1958) and Jordan and Howard (1990) reported the species from two localities in White County. These localities are near the transition from Eastern Highland Rim to Cumberland Plateau. Miller and Miller (1992) and Miller, Casey, and Pritts (1993) discovered barking treefrogs on the Eastern Highland rim in Warren County. On the Cumberland Plateau, populations are known from upland swamps and strip-mine ponds in Van Buren County and from a limestone sinkpond in Franklin County. These Cumberland Plateau and Eastern Highland Rim populations are regarded as continuous with those reported from northeastern Alabama by Mount (1975). The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (1994a) lists H. gratiosa as a species in need of management.

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Caldwell, 1982).


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Hyla versicolor and Hyla chrysoscelis
Hyla versicolor Le Conte - Gray Treefrog
Hyla chrysoscelis Cope - Cope's Gray Treefrog

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Description:Because these two species cannot be reliably separated based on external morphology, and the range of each has not been fully determined in Tennessee, they are treated here as a sibling species pair. In addition, members of this species pair are also easily confused with H. avivoca. The following characteristics are shared by both members of the species pair. Adult head-body lengths range from 3.2 to 5.1 cm. Tips of toes have adhesive discs. Dorsal ground color varies from light gray or light green to dark brown. Large dark blotches of irregular size and shape may occur on dorsum. Limbs are usually marked with dark crossbars. A quadrangular light spot is present on the upper jaw below the eyes. Dorsal skin surface is more rugose than in H. avivoca, and the inner surfaces of thighs are washed with bright yellow or orange (in contrast to the greenish or pale yellowish present in H. avivoca).

Distribution and Habitat: The composite range of the species pair is statewide. Most literature references and museum specimens fail to distinguish the two species. However, recent studies have begun to provide specific data. Burkett (1989) provided tentative distribution maps for both species indicating H. chrysoscelis occurs statewide, while H. versicolor has a very limited, disjunct distribution that includes small areas in extreme southwestern and northeastern Tennessee. Based on nucleoli counts, he identified H. chrysoscelis from Bledsoe, Cheatham, Chester, Crockett, Davidson, Dickson, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hardin, Knox, Lewis, Marion, McMinn, Monroe, Montgomery, Obion, Perry, Pickett, Polk, Robertson, Stewart, Van Buren, and White counties. Based on call rate, he also identified H. chrysoscelis from McNairy and Shelby counties. Other authors have verified H. chrysoscelis from Reelfoot Lake (Bushnell et al., 1939; Wasserman, 1970), Cumberland and Wilson counties (Wiley, 1982), Warren County (Miller, 1991), and Shelby County (Ritke and Beck, 1991). The most recent study of the species complex (Pritts, 1995) examined chromosome squashes prepared from samples of tadpoles taken in 18 Middle Tennessee counties (Bedford, Cannon, Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Franklin, Giles, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Robertson, Rutherford, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson). All populations studied had the 2n = 24 chromosome number of H. chrysoscelis. None exhibited the chromosome number characteristic of H. versicolor (4n = 48) or H. chrysoscelis X H. versicolor hybrids (3n = 36). Currently, H. versicolor has only been verified from Shelby County (Ritke et al., 1988; Ritke and Beck, 1991). Its presence at high elevations in northeastern Tennessee is based on speculation (Burkett, 1989). During this study, individuals (not verified to species, but probably H. chrysoscelis) were observed in a wide variety of aquatic habitats in both woodland and open areas. Breeding was observed in swamps, small ponds along the edges of large reservoirs, and in flooded fields and roadside ditches. Ritke and Beck (1991) noted that H. versicolor seemed to prefer bottomland as opposed to upland habitats. Individuals not verified to species have been reported from above 1650 m in the mountains of extreme eastern Tennessee (Mathews and Echternacht, 1984).

Taxonomy: Based on breeding experiments that revealed a high degree of incompatibility between the two species and the existence of different mating call trill rates, Johnson (1966) recognized H. chrysoscelis as a cryptic species. Johnson described a fast trill rate for the mating call of H. chrysoscelis and a slower trill rate for H. versicolor. Later studies have reinforced Johnson's conclusions. Additional characters found useful in separating the two species include chromosome number, cell size, and cell nucleus size and composition. Bogart and Wasserman (1972) showed that H. versicolor is tetraploid (4n = 48) while H. chrysoscelis is diploid (2n = 24). They also noted that blood and sperm cells were larger in H. versicolor. Green (1984) reported larger epidermal cells in the toe pads of H. versicolor. The cell nuclei of H. versicolor were found to be larger and contain more nucleoli than the nuclei of H. chrysoscelis (Cash and Bogart, 1978).


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Pseudacris brachyphona
Pseudacris brachyphona (Cope) - Mountain Chorus Frog

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Description:
The mountain chorus frog is a small stocky hylid, with an adult head-body length of 2.5 to 3.2 cm. Toe tips are slightly expanded to form adhesive discs. Dorsal ground color is usually brown or gray. A dark triangle typically occurs between the eyes. Dark bars on dorsum may form a reverse parenthesis or H-shaped pattern, but these markings may be broken into irregularly shaped spots or be completely absent. A light stripe is present on the upper lip.

Distribution and Habitat: This small hylid is seldom encountered except during its early spring breeding season. On the Cumberland Plateau, P. brachyphona and Bufo americanus often utilize the same breeding sites. Breeding activity typically occurs in wooded seepage pools, shallow flooded ditches along roads and railroads, small puddles, and shallow ponds. In Tennessee, the mountain chorus frog is known from the Cumberland Mountains, Cumberland Plateau, and Blue Ridge Mountains in extreme northeastern and southeastern Tennessee.

Taxonomy: Hoffman (1980) did not recognize any subspecific variation in this species.


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Pseudacris crucifer
Pseudacris crucifer (Wied) - Spring Peeper

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Description: The spring peeper is a small hylid, with an average adult head-body length of 1.9 to 3.2 cm. Tips of toes possess adhesive discs. Dorsal skin surface is smooth. Dorsal ground color ranges from light tan with a pinkish tinge to dark brown. Distinct dark brown markings in the form of an X are usually present on dorsum, and a dark transverse bar is typically present between the eyes.

Distribution and Habitat: Pseudacris crucifer is an early spring breeder that occurs statewide. In Tennessee, the species is very common near almost any type of woodland or brushland aquatic habitat, and breeding individuals especially favor sites bordered by dense vegetation. The species does not appear to be limited by elevation in Tennessee and has been reported from above 1650 m in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Mathews and Echternacht, 1984).

Taxonomy: Conant and Collins (1991) considered all populations in Tennessee as P. c. crucifer.


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Pseudacris triseriata
Pseudacris triseriata (Wied) - Upland Chorus Frog

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Description: This species is similar in size to P. brachyphona, but is more slender. Mature individuals have head-body lengths ranging from 1.9 to 3.5 cm. Toe tips are slightly expanded to form adhesive discs. Light stripe is present on upper lip. A lateral dark line originates on snout and extends through the eye to the groin. Dorsal ground color varies from gray to dark brown. A dark triangle generally occurs between the eyes. Dorsal markings are variable but usually consist of one mid-dorsal and two lateral dark stripes.

Distribution and Habitat: Pseudacris triseriata occurs statewide and occupies woodland and openland habitats that provide suitable breeding sites. Preferred breeding sites include shallow water ponds, flooded woodlands and pastures, and roadside ditches.

Taxonomy: Of the four subspecies of P. triseriata recognized by Conant and Collins (1991), only P. t. feriarum (Baird) occurs in Tennessee. Based on electrophoretic, morphological, and call analyses, Pseudacris t. feriarum is considered by some (Ralin, 1970; Hedges, 1986; Platz and Forester, 1988) as a distinct species.


Family Microhylidae - Narrowmouth Toads

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Gastrophryne carolinensis
Gastrophryne carolinensis (Holbrook) - Eastern Narrowmouth Toad

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Description:
Gastrophryne carolinensis is a small stocky anuran, with a small head and distinctly pointed snout. Adult head-body lengths range from 2.2 to 3.2 cm. Legs are short, and there is no webbing between toes. Skin is smooth and dorsal ground color may be gray, brown, or rust. Broad, light dorsolateral stripes are usually present.

Distribution and Habitat: Gastrophryne carolinensis is widespread in Tennessee, but is apparently absent at high elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Martof et al. (1980) and Nelson (1972) provide distribution maps that show G. carolinensis absent from most of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. Available records for Tennessee indicate the species occurs as high as 549 m in Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Huheey and Stupka, 1967). This burrowing species is found near reservoirs, ponds, drainage ditches, and sloughs.

Taxonomy: According to Nelson (1972), no subspecies are recognized.


Family Pelobatidae - Spadefoot Toads


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Scaphiopus holbrookii
Scaphiopus holbrookii (Harlan) - Eastern Spadefoot

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Description: The eastern spadefoot is toad-like in appearance. Average adult head-body length varies from 4.4 to 5.7 cm. Cranial crests are absent. Pupils of eyes are vertically elliptical. A dark, elongate, horny spade is present on heel of each foot. Dorsal ground color varies from yellowish brown to dark brown. Lyre-shaped light markings are usually present on dorsum.

Distribution and Habitat: Museum records for Tennessee and the range map for North Carolina provided by Martof et al. (1980), indicate that S. holbrookii occurs throughout Tennessee, with the exception of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wasserman's (1968) map shows the species as absent from the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee and Alabama, and Conant and Collins (1991) indicate its absence in central and extreme eastern Tennessee. Museum records, however, indicate that the species is present in all these areas except extreme eastern Tennessee. The eastern spadefoot is a secretive, burrowing species that breeds in temporary pools formed by heavy rains.

Taxonomy: Only the nominate subspecies is known to occur in Tennessee (Wasserman, 1968).


Family Ranidae - True Frogs


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Rana areolata
Rana areolata Baird and Girard - Crawfish Frog

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Description: The crawfish frog is a stocky ranid, with an adult head-body length varying from 5.7 to 7.5 cm. A dorsolateral fold is present along each side of body. Snout is conical and upper jaw is mottled with dark and light markings. Dorsal ground color varies from light gray to off-white. Dorsal markings are profuse, consisting of many round dark spots surrounded by light borders. These are interspersed with smaller dark markings of various shapes. Venter is usually white and immaculate.

Distribution and Habitat: Rana areolata is found in the Coastal Plain of western Tennessee. Although records are lacking for a large region in the Hardeman-McNairy county area, the species is known from just across the state line near Corinth, Mississippi (George Folkerts, pers. comm.). The crawfish frog is wary and difficult to approach. It breeds in flooded pastures and woodlands, farm ponds, and small reservoirs. It often occupies abandoned crayfish burrows.

Taxonomy: Two subspecies are recognized, but only one, R. a. circulosa Rice and Davis, is known from Tennessee (Conant and Collins, 1991; Collins, 1991b).


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Rana capito
Rana capito Le Conte - Gopher Frog

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Description: Rana capito resembles R. areolata but averages slightly larger. Adult head-body length ranges from 6.4 to 9.0 cm. A dorsolateral fold is present along each side of body. Dorsal ground color is variable, but is usually brown, dark brown, or nearly black. Dorsal markings normally consist of numerous round dark spots that lack light borders. Venter usually spotted from chin to midbody.

Distribution and Habitat: The species was discovered in Tennessee by Dr. Brian Miller, Middle Tennessee State University, in 1993 in Coffee County. Miller and student Tim Casey found a live individual on a gravel road during a night rain (Brian Miller, pers. comm.). The specimen (MTSU 72A) remains the only known individual reported from the state. Habitat use in Tennessee is unknown, but in adjacent states the species usually breeds in small ponds and flooded areas of fields and woodlands during and after heavy rains. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1994) listed R.. a. sevosa and R. a. capito, respectively, as Category 1 and Category 2 candidates for federal listing. However, the most recent list of federal candidate species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1996) does not include either of these subspecies.

Taxonomy: Currently recognized as constituting a separate species (Collins, 1991b; Conant and Collins, 1991), the three subspecies of gopher frogs (R. c. capito, R. c. sevosa, and R. c. aesopus) were previously considered subspecies of the crawfish frog (R. areolata) (Altig and Lohoefener, 1983). With only one specimen from the state to work with, the subspecific status of the Tennessee population remains uncertain (Brian Miller, pers. comm.).


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Rana catesbeiana
Rana catesbeiana Shaw - Bullfrog

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Description: The bullfrog is a large ranid, with mature specimens averaging 9.0 to 15.2 cm in head-body length. Dorsolateral ridges are absent. Dorsal color is typically light to dark green with a highly variable pattern of faint dark markings. Mottling is not present on the upper lip. The tympanic fold is well developed.

Distribution and Habitat: The bullfrog is common throughout Tennessee and occurs in most permanent aquatic habitats including creeks, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, swamps, sloughs, and drainage ditches.

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Conant and Collins, 1991).


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Rana clamitans
Rana clamitans Latreille - Green Frog

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Description:
Rana clamitans is a medium size frog, with adult head-body lengths ranging from 5.4 to 9.0 cm. Dorsolateral folds are present, but distinct only from head to mid-body. Dorsal ground color may be green, brown, or bronze. Distinct dark dorsal markings are usually absent, but indistinct spots, blotches, or worm-like markings may be present.

Distribution and Habitat:The species is a common inhabitant of springs, creeks, rivers, swamps, sloughs, reservoirs, and ponds; it occurs throughout Tennessee.

Taxonomy: According to Stewart (1983), R. c. melanota (Rafinesque) occurs in the eastern two-thirds of Tennessee and R. c. clamitans in the Gulf Coastal Plain of western Tennessee. There appears to be a broad zone of intergradation between these two subspecies, and in some areas subspecific variation is poorly defined (Stewart, 1983; Mount, 1975; Scott and Snyder, 1968; Ferguson, 1961).


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Rana palustris
Rana palustris Le Conte - Pickerel Frog

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Description: The pickerel frog is slightly smaller than R. clamitans. Head-body lengths of adults range from 4.4 to 7.5 cm. Dorsolateral ridges are well developed and extend from just behind the eye to groin. Dorsal ground color ranges from light gray to light brown, with distinct quadrangular, paired, dark markings. In a few individuals these markings are fused to form longitudinal bars. A dark spot is typically present on snout. Inner surfaces of hind legs and groin are tinged with yellow.

Distribution and Habitat: Although usually considered to occur statewide, R. palustris is uncommon in the Coastal Plain of West Tennessee. Conant and Collins (1991) show populations along the Mississippi River Valley as disjunct from those to the east along the Tennessee River in West Tennessee. Pickerel frogs are usually found in or near woodlands where they inhabit springs, creeks, ponds, reservoirs, and the twilight zone of caves.

Taxonomy: No subspecies are recognized (Schaff and Smith, 1971).


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Rana sylvatica
Rana sylvatica Le Conte - Wood Frog

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Description:
The wood frog is a medium-sized ranid, with an adult head-body length of 3.5 to 7.0 cm. Dorsolateral folds are present and extend from just behind eyes to groin. Dorsal coloration varies from light tan to brown. Scattered dark markings may occur on dorsum. A light stripe is present on upper lip. Lateral brown to blackish markings extend from snout to behind tympanum and form a distinct facial mask.

Distribution and Habitat: A species usually found near upland woodland streams and flooded depressions, R. sylvatica is presently known from essentially all of eastern Tennessee and across north central Tennessee westward to Dickson County.

Taxonomy: No subspecific designations are recognized (Martof, 1970).


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Rana utricularia
Rana utricularia Harlan - Southern Leopard Frog

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Description: Rana utricularia is a medium-sized frog that as an adult ranges from 5.1 to 9.0 cm in head-body length. Dorsal ground color varies from light green to brown. Dorsal spotting is highly variable, but usually includes scattered, distinctly rounded, large dark spots. In some individuals, the dorsal spots may be elongate, indistinct, or absent. Prominent dorsolateral folds extend from just behind eyes to groin. Lateral surfaces of trunk usually have a few dark spots. A light line is present on upper lip. Venter is typically white, and a white spot usually occurs in center of tympanum.

Distribution and Habitat: Like Gastrophryne carolinensis, R. utricularia is common throughout most of Tennessee, but is apparently absent from the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rana utricularia may also be absent from a small area of upper northeastern Tennessee. Conant and Collins (1991) provide a distribution map that shows the species absent from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, North Carolina, and eastern Tennessee. However, in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Huheey and Stupka (1967) recorded the species from Cades Cove near 549 m elevation. Southern leopard frogs are common near farm ponds, reservoirs, creeks, rivers, sloughs, and swamps.

Taxonomy: The Rana pipiens species complex has a complicated taxonomic history. Following the most recent treatment (Pace, 1974), populations in Tennessee are designated R. u. utricularia. This species is often referred to as R. sphenocephala Cope or R. pipiens sphenocephala in the literature.


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