Differentiating Leopard Frogs in the Southwest

I’ve noticed that a lot of leopard frogs, particularly Lithobates yavapaiensis and Lithobates chiricahuensis, are in need of ID. I’ve been trying to get them to research grade, mainly based on range. However, there are many areas where their ranges overlap, and they can be challenging to differentiate. Does anyone have any tips they use to tell them apart?

I have not looked at the unIDed leopard frogs from my state (NM) but location can be important for determining species. Unfortunately one of the more reliable characteristics for differentiating is the pattern on the thigh which isn’t visible in most photos.


The sources I use for IDing leopard frogs in the SW US are two local guides, which I have:

For NM: Degenhardt, W.G. et al. 1996. Amphibians and reptiles of New Mexico. UNM Press.

For AZ: Holycross, A.T. et al. 2022. Field guide to amphibians and reptiles in Arizona, 2nd edition. AZ Game & Fish Dept.

Both have good distribution info as well as ID characteristics. I have not explored other sources on line.


Thanks for the answer! For areas in which their ranges do overlap and thigh patterning is not visible, should I just ID to genus level (Lithobates)?

I would do that. Yavapaiensis is thought to be extinct or nearly so in NM so the overlap is probably mainly in AZ

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