Presently, Chiricahua leopard frogs inhabit two known ranges. One extends from central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim to western New Mexico.
The other range is from the montane section of southeastern Arizona adjacent to Sonora to the southwest corner of New Mexico and parts of Mexico, including the Sierra Madre, northern Durango, and Chihuahua. (Platz and Mecham, 1979; Southwest Center Species Database, 2003)
Permanent aquatic habitats with well-oxygenated water and aquatic vegetation are necessary for the survival of this species. It usually occurs at altitudes of 1,000-2,600 m. (Southwest Center Species Database, 2003; The Nature Conservatory, 2004)inhabits a wide variety of springs, streams, lakes, and ponds, as well as man-made habitats. The Nature Conservatory's Mimbres River Preserve is currently the home of one of the largest populations of this species.
- Aquatic Biomes
- lakes and ponds
- rivers and streams
- Range elevation
- 1000 to 2600 m
- 3280.84 to 8530.18 ft
These frogs are similar in appearance to a small, extremely stocky bullfrogs with spots. They are olive to dark green in color, with charcoal spots. The groin features a yellowish pigmentation which may extend onto the posterior and abdomen. (Platz and Mecham, 1979)reaches a maximum size of 50-135 mm, with males generally smaller than females. Tadpoles are small and dark-colored.
- Sexual Dimorphism
- female larger
- Range length
- 50 to 135 mm
- 1.97 to 5.31 in
Eggs form clumped, spherical masses which are usually suspended on the surface of water, or on vegetation growing in water. Tadpoles undergo metamorphosis 2-9 months after hatching. After metamorphosis, sexual maturity is reached in 2-3 years. This species can live up 14 years in the wild. (Platz and Mecham, 1979; Southwest Center Species Database, 2003; The Nature Conservatory, 2004)
- Development - Life Cycle
These frogs breed throughout June-August at elevations above 1,800 m, or during spring to late summer below 1,800 m. Permanent water is required for their reproduction. Eggs form clumped, spherical masses which are usually suspended on the surface of water, or on vegetation growing in water. (Platz and Mecham, 1979; Southwest Center Species Database, 2003; The Nature Conservatory, 2004)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding season
- June - September
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 2 to 3 years
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 2 to 3 years
These frogs can live up to 14 years in the wild.
- Range lifespan
- 14 (high) years
- Range lifespan
Being quite shy, these frogs will dive toward the deepest areas of their habitat when disturbed. This species is preyed upon by bullfrogs and predatory fish.
Chiricahua leopard frogs nest in tress and shrubs with dense foliage from 0-4 m off the ground. Males attract females using a distinctive mating call. This trilling, snore-like call has been studied intensively and can be used to distinguish this species from similar frogs inhabiting the same region. (Platz and Mecham, 1979; Southwest Center Species Database, 2003; The Nature Conservatory, 2004)
Communication and Perception
Males use a trilling, snore-like mating call to attract females. The call is distinct from other frog species in the same region. (Platz and Mecham, 1979; Southwest Center Species Database, 2003; The Nature Conservatory, 2004)
- Communication Channels
This species probably consumes a wide variety of insects and other invertebrates which are caught by the frog's long, quickly extendable tongue. (The Nature Conservatory, 2004)
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial non-insect arthropods
- Anti-predator Adaptations
- Known Predators
- bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
This species is not of great economic importance to humans.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
This species does not adversely affect humans in any significant way.
This species is a candidate for a listing as an endangered species by the U.S. Federal Government. Chiricahua leopard frog populations have declined dramatically in recent years due to a variety of causes. One primary cause is habitat destruction due to the drainage of water from aquatic habitats, damming, river channeling, and grazing. The introduction of exotic frogs and predatory fish has also hurt this species. In addition, increasing levels of UV radiation due to the loss of the Earth's ozone layer have been shown to damage the eggs of this and other frog species. (The Nature Conservatory, 2004; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2001)
Matthew Wund (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Al Hilton (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
uses sound to communicate
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
having markings, coloration, shapes, or other features that cause an animal to be camouflaged in its natural environment; being difficult to see or otherwise detect.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
- external fertilization
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
union of egg and spermatozoan
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
specialized for leaping or bounding locomotion; jumps or hops.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
The term is used in the 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Endangered (E), Vulnerable (V), Rare (R), Indeterminate (I), or Insufficiently Known (K) and in the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals to refer collectively to species categorized as Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), or Vulnerable (VU).
uses sight to communicate
Platz, J., J. Mecham. 1979. Rana chiricahuensis, a new species of leopard frog (Rana pipens complex) from Arizona. Copeia, 3: 383-390.
Southwest Center Species Database, 2003. "Chiricahua Leopard Frog" (On-line). Accessed 10/05/04 at http://www.sw-center.org/swcbd/species/lfrog/index.HTML.
The Nature Conservatory, 2004. "An Elemental Fact: The Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chiricahuensis)" (On-line). Accessed 10/05/04 at http://nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/newmexico/science/art1163.html.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 2001. "Division of Endangered Species, Species Informaion" (On-line). Accessed March 7, 2001 at http://endangered.fws.gov/wildlife.html.