Scientific Name: Rana kauffeldi
Classification: Nongame species
Abundance: Found in northeastern counties (brown)
Photo by Jeff Beane
Only recently discovered in North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog looks very similar to its close cousin, the Southern Leopard Frog. It is a slender frog with scattered and well-defined dark spots on a background that can be bright green, gold or bronze or brown. The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog can be distinguished from the Southern Leopard Frog by its snout, which is rounder, and the lack of a white dot in its tympanum (external eardrum).
As its name implies, the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog is found along the Eastern Seaboard, from New York to North Carolina, which is its southernmost range. Unlike the Southern Leopard Frog, which is found in the Piedmont and Coastal regions of North Carolina, the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog is found only in the state’s northeastern counties where it lives in a variety of wetland habitats.
Atlantic Coast Leopard Frogs breed in late winter to early spring; however, they may call in early fall as well. Their call is quack-like, resembling the call of a Wood Frog.
The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog is classified as a nongame species with no open season. It is unlawful for any person to take, or have in possession, any nongame mammal or bird unless that person has a collection license or is collecting fewer than 5 reptiles or fewer than 25 amphibians that are not endangered, threatened, or special concerned species.
There are no reported problems with this species.
Frogs and toads can be monitored fairly easily in a variety of ways. One way is through frog call monitoring. The North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program attempts to do just that by corralling data collected by volunteers across the state that monitors specific frog call routes. Each species of frog and toad has a unique call that is distinguishable from others. Some are more difficult for humans to separate than others, but the frogs know who’s who! Learn your frog calls, and you too can distinguish who’s calling in the ponds. Another way to monitor frogs and toads is by looking for egg masses deposited in wetlands and/or by looking for tadpoles in those same wetlands. Different frogs breed at different times of the year, so when to look for eggs is dependent on the species of interest. Eggs typically hatch within a couple weeks of being deposited, so there is a fairly short window for detection. Frog eggs can sometimes be identified to family, but are somewhat tricky to identify to species level. Tadpole identification can be similarly tricky, so learning and listening to frog calls is definitely the easiest method for determining what frogs and toads are using a wetland. Tadpoles are a little easier to monitor, as most species have tadpoles present in wetlands for longer periods of time. This is, again, variable by species. Most species have tadpole stages that last at least several months, but the range in timing for different species is everything from a couple of weeks to several years. The smaller frog and toad species tend to have shorter tadpole cycles, while the larger frogs and toads tend to have longer times to metamorphosis.
Wildlife Diversity Program Quarterly Reports
Protected Wildlife Species of North Carolina Listings (PDF)
Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog (photo: Jeff Beane)
The call of the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog is quack-like, resembling the call of a wood frog.