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Amphibians of Florida - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Amphibians of Florida. Amphibians. Moist glandular skin (NO SCALES!) Pass (aquatic) larval stage as young Amphibios – From the Greek meaning “living a double life” Toes without claws Made up of three Orders: Anura (frogs & toads) Caudata (salamanders) Gymnophiona (caecilians).

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Amphibians l.jpg

  • Moist glandular skin (NO SCALES!)

  • Pass (aquatic) larval stage as young

    • Amphibios – From the Greek meaning “living a double life”

  • Toes without claws

  • Made up of three Orders:

    • Anura (frogs & toads)

    • Caudata (salamanders)

    • Gymnophiona (caecilians)

Order anura l.jpg
Order Anura

  • FROGS!!!!

  • Thick head and body with long, strong legs

  • Often advertise presence (especially during the breeding season) with a wide range of calls

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Family Bufonidae

  • Toads!

  • Have dry, glandular (warty) skin

  • Hop

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Bufo marinus

  • EXOTIC! (South America)

  • Huge size

  • Skin gland secretions can be highly toxic

  • Marine Toad / Giant Toad / Cane Toad

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Bufo quercicus

  • Tiny size

  • Conspicuous, light middorsal stripe

  • Oak Toad

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Bufo terrestris

  • Large knobs & high cranial crests

  • Extremely abundant

  • Southern Toad

Photo By: T. Blunden

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Family Hylidae

  • Cricket Frogs, Treefrogs & Chorus Frogs!

    Acris Hyla Pseudacris

  • Many species have enlarged, round toepads

  • Mostly relatively small-sized

  • Known for their wide variety of vocalizations

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Acris gryllus

  • Small size with slightly warty skin

  • Often bright green Y between eyes extends down the back

  • In Florida, back of thigh has two dark stripes

  • Southern Cricket Frog

Photo By: W. Knapp

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Hyla avivoca

  • Greyish overall coloration with white spot under eye

  • Inner sides of thigh with greenish-yellowish wash

  • Similar to but smaller than Hyla chrysoscelis

  • Bird-voiced Treefrog

Photos By: W. Knapp

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Hyla chrysoscelis

  • Greyish overall coloration with white spot under the eye

  • Inner thighs with orange – yellow wash

  • Similar to but larger than Hyla avivoca

  • Cope’s Gray Treefrog

Photo By: W. Knapp

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Hyla cineria

  • Long body shape

  • Well defined light lateral line

  • Many have tiny golden spots on their backs

Photo By: T. Blunden

Photo By: T. Blunden

Green Treefrog

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Hyla femoralis

Photo By: W. Knapp

  • Bright yellow-orange spots on inside of thigh (femoralis….)

  • Very variable overall coloration (grey, green, brown, patterned, uniform etc)

  • Pine Woods Treefrog

Photos By: W. Kapp

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Hyla gratiosa

  • Large round spots on back

  • Rugose skin

  • Large size

  • Large toepads

  • Dependent on fishless, ephemeral ponds for breeding

  • Barking Treefrog

Photo By: T. Blunden

Photo By: T. Blunden

Photo By: T. Blunden

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Hyla squirrela

  • Rule out other frogs first!

  • Extremely variable overall coloration

  • No strong inner thigh markings

  • Extremely common, even in residential areas

  • Squirrel Treefrog

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Osteopilus septentrionalis

  • Introduced species

  • Large!!

  • Forehead skin fused to bone

  • Usually a yellow wash near groin

  • Often found in urban/suburban environments, but can also invades natural areas

  • Range is still expanding northward.

  • CubanTreefrog

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Pseudacris crucifer

  • Dark imperfect “X” marking on back

  • Pinkish, yellowish, brown or grey background color

  • Early winter breeder

  • Spring Peeper

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Pseudacris nigrita

Photo By: J. Jensen

  • Three dorsal stripes (tend to break up near groin)

  • Prominent white lip line

  • Southern Chorus Frog

Photo By: W. Kapp

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Pseudacris ocularis

  • Smallest Frog in North America

  • Prominent dark line through eye (ocularis...)

  • Usually found in small grassy wetlands

  • Little Grass Frog

Photo By: T. Blunden

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Pseudacris ornata

  • Black mask-like stripe through eye

  • Ornate Chorus Frog

  • Dark spots on sides & near groin

Photo By: A. Day

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Family Leptodactylidae

  • 1,110 species including 700 in the genus Eleutherodactylus (largest vertebrate genus)

  • Usually small

  • Mostly Tropical

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Eleutherodactylus planirostrus

  • Introduced species

  • Small terrestrial frog

  • Call is very insect like

  • Undergoes metamorphosis in the egg (there is no free swimming larvae)

• Greenhouse Frog

Photo By: T. Blunden

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Family Microhylidae

  • Narrow-mouthed frogs

    (Also known as Sheepfrogs)

  • Characterized by skin fold across back of head

  • Specialize on beetles, ants & ant lions

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Gastrophryne carolinensis

  • Tiny, pointy head, fat round body

  • Skin fold on back of head

  • Eastern Narrowmouth Toad

Photo By: W. Kapp

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Family Pelobatidae

  • American Spadefoots

  • Use single, bladelike spade on back feet to burrow rapidly down in loose soil

  • Explosive breeders after heavy rains

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Scaphiophus holbrookii

  • Horny black spade on hind foot

  • Vertical pupil

  • Pale lyre / hourglass shape on dark back

  • Eastern Spadefoot Toad

Photo By: W. Knapp

Photo By: W. Kapp

Photo By: A. Day

Family ranidae l.jpg
Family Ranidae

  • True frogs!

  • Typical frogs with long legs, narrow waists and smooth, moist skin

  • Many have dorsolateral folds

  • Leap

  • Found on all continents except Antartica

  • Source of culinary frog legs

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Rana capito

  • Short body, pointy snout

  • Light background color with large dark spots

  • Found in xeric uplands

  • Usually uses Gopher Tortoise burrows as refugia

  • Gopher Frog

Photo By: T. Blunden

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Rana catesbiana

  • Mostly plain green or brown above

  • No dorsolateral ridges

  • Some mottling below

  • Webbing on 4th hind toes does not fully extend to tip

  • Bull Frog

Photo by T. Blunden

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Rana clamitans

  • Plain brown/bronzy back

  • Incomplete dorsolateral ridges

  • Center of tympanum elevated

  • Green / Bronze Frog

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Rana grylio

  • Large, plain frog, very sim. to R. catesbiana

  • Webbing on 4th hind toes extends fully to tip

  • No dorsolateral ridges

  • Pig Frog

Photo By: T. Lamb

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Rana heckscheri

  • Large, greenish black frog with light spots on the lips

  • No dorsolateral ridges

  • Dark below with light markings

  • River Frog

Photo By: A. Day

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Rana sphenocephala

  • Green or brown frog with darker spots

  • Strong dorsolateral ridges, often light colored

  • Light spot in center of tympanum

  • Southern / Florida Leopard Frog

  • Called Rana utricularia in Peterson’s Field Guide

Photo By: D. Stevenson

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Order Caudata


  • The Americas have more salamanders than the rest of the world combined, and the southeastern US has more salamanders than anywhere else in North America.

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Family Ambystomatidae

  • Mole salamanders!

  • Fossorial

  • Tend to be stout with large heads

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Ambystoma cingulatum

  • Medium background color with lighter, netlike pattern

  • Rare species

  • Inhabitant of longleaf pine-wiregrass flatwoods with cypress heads

  • Dependent on fishless ponds to breed

  • Flatwoods Salamander

Photo By: J. Jensen

Ambystoma talpoidium l.jpg
Ambystoma talpoidium

  • Chunky body with large head

  • Dark overall coloration with bluish-grey flecks

  • Mole Salamander

Photos By: J. Jensen

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Family Amphiumidae

  • Eel-like

  • Tiny front AND back legs

  • No external gills

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Amphiuma means

  • Eel-like, LARGE

  • Four tiny legs with two toes each

  • Almost completely aquatic, but may move overland on extremely wet nights in flooded areas

  • Two-toed Amphiuma, congo eel, conger eel, lamper eel, ditch eel

Photo By: J. Jensen

Photo By: K. Sorenson

Family plethodontidae l.jpg
Family Plethodontidae

  • Lungless salamanders!

  • Respire through the skin

  • Tend to be slender with long tails

  • Have a nasolabial groove

  • Found most commonly in areas with some kind of running water (streams, seeps, springs & waterfalls)

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Desmognathus apalachicola

  • 10-14 pairs of light, often coalescing dorsal spots w/ black fringes

  • Belly pure white

  • Apalachicola Dusky Salamander

Desmognathus auriculatus l.jpg
Desmognathus auriculatus

  • Dark overall

  • Series of “portholes” along sides of body and tail

  • Associated with cypress ponds and stagnant pools

  • Southern Dusky Salamander

Photo by: B. Means

Eurycea cirrigera l.jpg
Eurycea cirrigera

  • Two dark lines bordering yellowish middorsal stripe

  • Tail longer than body

  • Five toes on hind feet

  • Southern Two-lined Salamander

Photo By: J. Jensen

Eurycea longicauda l.jpg
Eurycea longicauda

  • Three dark stripes on yellow background

  • Tail longer than body

  • Five toes on hind feet

  • Three-lined Salamander

    (listed as Eurycea longicauda guttolineatta in Peterson’s)

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Eurycea quadridigittata

  • Very tiny size

  • Four toes on hind feet

  • Three dark stripes on lighter background

  • Dwarf Salamander

Photo By: D. Stevenson

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Plethodon grobmani

  • Long, skinny, mostly black salamander with light flecks

  • Distinct costal grooves

  • Southeastern Slimy Salamander (part of P.glutinosus complex)

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Pseudotriton montanus

  • Plain rusty brown color above

  • Pale venter with sparse dark speckles

  • Eastern / Rusty Mud Salamander (listed as P. m. floridanus in guide)

Photo By: W. Van Devender

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Pseudotriton ruber

  • Reddish orange above with white flecking, esp. concentrated on head

  • Belly pale with many small black speckles

  • Red Salamander

    (ours listed as P. r. vioscai in guide)

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Family Salamandridae

  • Newts!

  • Terrestrial stage with rough, glandular skin

  • Some species may have complicated life cycles:

    Egg  Larva  Eft  Adult


Notopthalmus perstriatus l.jpg
Notopthalmus perstriatus

  • Small with rough skin

  • Light colored with dark spots

  • Red dorsolateral stripes (faint on specimen – look hard!)

  • Dependent on fishless ponds to breed – RARE

  • Striped Newt

Photos By: J. Jensen

Notopthamus viridiscens l.jpg
Notopthamus viridiscens

Photo By: R. Birkhead

  • Small with rough skin

  • Dusky colored with lighter orange, yellow, or red spots

  • Pale belly with many dark flecks

  • Eastern Newt

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Family Sirenidae

  • Highly aquatic

  • Eel-like, but with substantial front legs

  • No hind legs

  • External, bushy gills

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Siren intermedia


  • Eel-like with bushy gills

  • Large front limbs

  • Medium size

  • Highly aquatic

  • Lesser Siren

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Siren lacertina

  • Eel-like with bushy gills


  • Large, well developed front limbs

  • Large size

  • Highly aquatic

  • Greater Siren

Photo By: J. Jensen

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Photo By: T. Blunden