Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Northern Leopard Frog

(Rana pipiens)

Northern Leopard Frog
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae
Genus: Rana
Species: pipiens
Length: Adults from 2 to 4.5 inches
Lifespan: 2 to 4 years
Feed: Adult frogs consume small invertebrates. Larvae eat algae, plant tissue, organic debris, and probably small invertebrates
Habitat: a variety of aquatic habitats that include slow-moving or still water along streams and rivers, wetlands, permanent or temporary pools, beaver ponds, and human-constructed habitats such as earthen stock tanks and borrow pits.
 

Life History:

The northern leopard frog is a smooth-skinned green, brown, or sometimes yellow-green frog covered with large, oval dark spots, each of which is surrounded by a lighter halo. Adult body lengths range from 2 to 4.5 inches.

The northern leopard frog requires a mosaic of habitats to meet the requirements of all of its life stages and breeds in a variety of aquatic habitats that include slow-moving or still water along streams and rivers, wetlands, permanent or temporary pools, beaver ponds, and human-constructed habitats such as earthen stock tanks and borrow pits. Subadult northern leopard frogs typically migrate to feeding sites along the borders of larger, more permanent bodies of water and recently-metamorphosed frogs will move up and down drainages and across land in an effort to locate new breeding areas.
 

Distribution and Habitat:

  The northern leopard frog range includes the northern tier U.S. states, western states and the southern Canadian provinces. A petition to list the western population of the northern leopard frog seeks to protect frogs in 19 western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming). The northern leopard frog is now considered uncommon in a large portion of its range in the western United States, and declines of the species have been documented in most western states. The range of the western population extends into the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, southern Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and western Ontario. Northern leopard frog distribution map

Threats:

  The northern leopard frog is experiencing threats from habitat loss, disease, non-native species, pollution and climate change that individually and cumulatively have resulted in population declines, local extinctions and disappearance from vast areas of its historical range in the western U.S. and Canada.
 
For more information on the Northern Leopard Frog, visit the FWS Arizona Ecological Services website.

Photos are available by contacting Jeff Humphrey at (602) 242-0210 or on the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Amphibians.htm

Northern leopard frog vocalizations are available at: http://www.californiaherps.com/frogs/pages/r.pipiens.sounds.html


Actions / Current Information:

 
  10/04/2011 News Release: Endangered Species Act Protection for Northern Leopard Frog is Not Warranted
    Questions and Answers: 12-month Finding on Petition to List Northern Leopard Frog in the West
     
     
  10/28/2009 News Release: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Continues to Seek Northern Leopard Frog Information
     
  06/30/2009 News Release: Northern Leopard Frog in West May Warrant Federal Protection
    Questions and Answers: 90-day Finding on Petition to List the Western Population of the Northern Leopard Frog
    Federal Register: 90-day Finding on a Petition to List the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) in the Western United States as Threatened
Last updated: April 16, 2014