Biodiversity Profile: New Leopard Frog


Tipped off by a distinctive croak, a team of biologists announced in 2012 the discovery of a leopard frog species in New York unique from the well-established northern and southern leopard frogs.

Photo by Matt Schlesinger | New York Natural Heritage ProgramWhat do we know? Tipped off by a distinctive croak, a team of biologists announced in 2012 the discovery of a leopard frog species in New York unique from the well-established northern and southern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens and L. sphenocephalus). 

Where is it found? Researchers are hard at work to determine the range and distribution. It was initially believed to be confined to four populations in and around New York City. However, frog-call recordings gathered from as far afield as North Carolina and Massachusetts suggest that its range could be far greater. 

What’s next? This spring and next, researchers in a nine-state coalition will run frog-call surveys and other analyses on specimens from across the Eastern Seaboard. The goal is to match the disparate call recordings with their corresponding morphological and genetic data. 

Scientific name: Rana sp. nov. 

Source: New York Natural Heritage Program 

The New York Natural Heritage Program—a member of the NatureServe network—helped build a coalition of biologists from nine northeastern states that is working to determine whether a new species of leopard frog is distributed across the Eastern Seaboard rather than being limited to a few clusters around New York City.