FROGS OF LAKE WOODRUFF NWR

All images are copyrighted. Please contact me at pmay@stetson.edu for information about licensing of image use.

Click on any of the photographs to see a larger version.

Although some salamanders are undoubtedly present in the woodland habitats, they are not common.  Several large aquatic salamanders called sirens and amphiumas are present in the canals and impoundments, but they are rarely seen unless you're lucky enough to spot a great blue heron or white ibis scarfing one.   That leaves the frogs and toads as the amphibians most likely to be seen or heard.  Other species than those listed here may be present, but are not common, in my experience.  The easiest way to find anurans (frogs and toads) is to be at the refuge after dark on any spring or summer evening after a heavy afternoon rainstorm.   Breeding choruses of most of these species can be almost deafening at times.  Unfortunately, the refuge is closed to Joe Public after dark.

Toads (Families Bufonidae and Microhylidae)

 

Southern toads, Bufo terrestris, are fairly common in the mesic hammocks, and occasionally can be seen hunting after dark in the grassy areas of the dike close to hammock.  They are also common breeders, and their high trilling call is easy to identify.  They also often call from quite prominent positions, so are easy to find when breeding.

 

This endearing little batrachian, the oak toad (Bufo quercicus), is not as widespread as the much larger southern toad.  These little anurans are only about 1" long as adults, and like open scrubby  woodlands with pines and (sometimes) oaks.  They can be found on several areas of Jones Island.
Not a true toad, the narrow-mouthed toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis, is actually a member of the frog family Microhylidae, which is quite diverse in the tropics.  These small, secretive ant-eating frogs (or toads) spend most of their time under cover in hammocks, but will venture out in the day after heavy rains.  When calling, their high sheep-like bleating waaaaaaah call can be heard during day or night.  They tend to remain hidden when calling, though, and are quite difficult to find.

Treefrogs and other small frogs (Families Hylidae, Leptodactylidae)

 

Green treefrogs, Hyla cinerea, are common in hammocks as well as in the more open habitats such as marshes and canal edges.  They are highly variable in color, and can be bright green, gray, brown, or some combination thereof. The best identifying trait is the cleanly defined white stripe running down the side of the face and body, though it is missing in some individuals.  Their "rain call" is frequently heard on cloudy spring or summer afternoons preceding a thundershower.

 

The squirrel tree frog, Hyla squirella, is found in the same habitats as the green treefrog, but doesn't get as large (no more than 1.5" long) and doesn't have the clean white stripe on the side, although an indistinct stripe can be present.  They're also highly variable in color.

 

The pinewoods treefrog, Hyla femoralis, tends to occur in  pine woods or areas of hammock near pine woods as its name suggests.  Usually grayish or brownish in color, the best identifying trait is a series of yellow spots on the back of the thigh.  You have to hold them to see these, though.  Their high rattling call, which sounds to me a bit like an anhinga at a distance, is commonly heard from high in the trees.

 

The spring peeper, Pseudacris crucifer, is a winter/spring breeding frog, and their high peeping calls can be heard from wetter areas of hydric and mesic hammock near the parking lot as early as December.   I rarely see these small treefrogs, but hear them all the time.  If you see one, a prominent  or faint X across their back will distinguish them from other small brown frogs.

 

This is the smallest of the tree frogs, the little grass frog, Pseudacris ocularis. Common in hammocks and in thick vegetation around the edges of more open, wet habitats, they are more easily found by their thin, tinkling bell-like calls, which can be heard throughout the day, especially in the summer.

 

 The Florida cricket frog, Acris gryllus dorsalis, can be abundant along the edges of canals and pools.  Their clicking calls are heard more often than the frogs are seen, and resemble stones being tapped together.  They may call at nearly any time of year.
The greenhouse frog, Eleutherodactylus planirostris, is an introduced species that has become very successful around human-modified environments such as gardens and, believe it or not, greenhouses.  They are small and easily overlooked; they can sometimes be found by lifting palm fronds and other cover in woodland or edge habitats.  They have a particularly warty or bumpy skin for a frog, and vary significantly in color.

True frogs (Family Ranidae)

 

This is the pig frog, Rana gryllio.  This large, mostly aquatic frog, is abundant in the canals and impoundments, though they may venture out onto the dikes after dark to forage.  Their grunting pig-like call (hence the name) is one of the most common sounds of the aquatic habitats during the warmer months, and is often mistaken for an alligator by the great unwashed.  Ecologically, these frogs are the counterparts of bullfrogs, which are mostly found further north. 

 

Rana utricularia, the leopard frog, is probably the most abundant frog in the refuge.  They spend much of their time in impoundments or pools, but around dusk they come out on the dikes to feed.   They can be easily found along the edges of canals at these times, and can also be found in great abundance in hammock habitats when they are flooded.  Not all individuals are as brightly colored as this one - the amount of green varies tremendously among individuals.
 Rana clamitans, the bronze frog, is uncommon, but can sometimes be found (or heard) in the hydric hammocks and wet woodlands around the parking lot.  Their call has been likened to a plucked banjo string.

Go to: Alligators

Directions/map   Photography recommendations  Habitats   Seasonal Calendar   Species Accounts  Peter May Home Page