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Species Description

Gopher Frog

Rana capito


Species Image

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae

Description

Its back is gray to brownish, with dark spots and gold dorsolateral folds. A large, plump frog, 5.1 - 11.4 cm (2-4.5 in) in length.

Life Cycle

The Gopher Frog is an explosive breeder. Heavy rains from late fall through early winter trigger congregation and breeding. Fertilization is external. The female lays large clumps of eggs, which she attaches to submerged or emergent vegetation. Eggs hatch in four to five days and transform from tadpoles into frogs 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 months later. The Gopher Frog is found in pine scrub and sandhills, near ponds. It is very secretive, and spends a great deal of time on land away from the water. It is active at night and hides during the day. It often hides in burrows made by other animals, particularly Crayfish and Gopher Tortoises. It is an opportunistic feeder, as are most of the larger frog species.

Range

Gopher Frog Region Map The Gopher Frog is found throughout the Coastal Plain of Georgia.

Conservation Status

This frog is listed in Georgia as being Of Special Concern and is being considered for Federal listing. It is hard to obtain accurate numbers on this frog because it is so difficult to find. The main threat to this frog is loss of habitat. The sandhills it prefers are being developed for agriculture, tree farming, and housing. Practices that maintain the open scrub nature of the pine forests on the Coastal Plain can help preserve this species.

Similar Species

The River Frog has similar coloration and size, but the River Frog has white spots on its lips and would not be found in drier pine scrub forests.