Amphibians of Acadiana Park

Family Ambystomatidae - Mole Salamanders

marbled salamander

Marbled Salamander - Ambystoma opacum

Marbled salamanders are about 3.5-4.25 inches. They are black/dark brown with light white/silvery crossbands. Juveniles have flecks instead of bands. They occur in floodplains, wooded hillsides, and can be found under rocks and logs. They breed in temporary wetlands. They eat worms, insects, centipedes, snails, and slugs.

small-mouthed salamander

Small-mouthed Salamander - Ambystoma texanum

Small-mouthed salamanders have a small head with a blunt, short snout. They are 4.3-7 inches in length. They are gray or black with light blotches on the back and costal grooves along the sides. They are found in lowland forests and prairies that have temporary ponds. Adults eat insects, spiders, slugs, worms, and crustaceans.

three-toed amphiuma

Three-toed Amphiuma - Amphiuma tridactylum

Three-toed amphiuma is often called "congo eel" - a large, dark colored, eel-like salamander with two paris of tiny legs, each with three toes. Maximum length is 42 inches, 1060 mm. Commonly found in ditches with shallow water. Often thought to be an eel, but look closely to see the tiny legs. Primary food is crawfish, earthworms, and insect larvae. Uncommon at the park but common in Lafayette Parish ditches.

Genera Ollotis and Anaxyurus - North American Toads

Typical Anurans lay eggs in pools of water. Tadpoles, a larval stage, hatch from these eggs. The tadpole has a fleshy, finned tail; lidless eyes; and specialized larval teeth. As the tadpole ages, the limbs begin to appear, and during metamorphosis the tail and fins are resorbed, the skin becomes grandular, the eyes develop lids, the skull is restructured, and true teeth form. The froglet then undergoes a period of growth to reach its adult size. Toads do not go through a traditional metamorphasis.

golf coast toad

Gulf Coast Toad - Ollotis valliceps

A brownish toad with a yellowish cream underside, a white or yellowish stripe down center of back, and a broad yellowish cream stripe on side. Maximum length is 5 inches, 125mm. When young and small, can sometimes be confused with Fowler's Toad. Very common in south Louisiana. Very common in the park.

fowler's toad

Fowler's Toad - Anaxyurus fowleri

A brownish or reddish toad with a yellowish or gray underside and a light colored stripe on back. Maximum length is 3 inches, 51-76 mm. Sometimes confused with Gulf Coast Toad, but Fowler's is typically smaller and lacks the strong dorsal stripe down center of back. Common statewide west of the Mississippi River, except in coastal marshes. Common in the park.

Family Hylidae - Holarctic Treefrogs

cope's gray treefrog

Cope's Gray Treefrog - Hyla chrysoscelis

Cope's Gray Treefrog and the Common Gray Treefrog are structurally identical. However, they are different species because 1) their calls are different but can be confused to the untrained ear and 2) vary genetically. A gray to brown or green frog with dark blotches or a dark blotch on back and a light rectangluar spot under each eye. Each of the gray treefrog species sports a bright yellow pattern on the inner thigh of the rear legs. Maximum length is 2 3/8 inches, 60mm. These are arboreal frogs that eat mostly insects. There is a healthy population at the park.

green treefrog

Green Treefrog - Hyla cinerea

A light to dark green frog with a well-defined, sharp-edged white or yellow stripe on side. Maximum length is 2 1/2 inches, 65mm. Occurs wherever fresh-water breeding sites are available. Are found under bark and in or under logs in cool weather, during most of the year they are found on just about any vertical surface off of the ground. Primary food is arthropods; snails, beetles, and spiders. Common in the park.

squirrel treefrog

Squirrel Treefrog - Hyla squirella

Squirrel Treefrogs are definitely the most color-diverse of the treefrogs. Individuals can be found in shades of gray, brown, green and just about everything inbetween. Some of the green individuals can be confused with Green Treefrogs, but adult Squirrels average smaller, plus the whitish stripe on the sides is much less defined than in Greens. Squirrel Treefrogs get their name from their song, which sounds like a squirrel's alarm call. These are Spring and Summer breeders, and are common in the park. Squirrel Treefrogs will also sing later into the Summer than will Greens.

Family Microhylidae - Narrow-mouthed Toads

eastern narrow-mouthed toad

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad - Gastrophryne carolinensis

Unrelated to True Toads, its body can be gray, brown, or reddish tan. Maximum length is 1 1/2 inches, 38mm. Toes are unwebbed. Secretive during the day but move into the open after dark. Found in forested areas. More often walk rather than leap. Primary foods are termites, ants, and snails. Their song sounds like a tiny electric buzzer. Common in park.

Genus Pseudacris - Chorus Frogs

spring pepper

Spring Peeper - Pseudacris crucifer

A brown to brownish olive frog with a dark "X" shaped mark on its back. Have most treefrog habits (and used to be in the same genus as treefrogs,) but do not ascend much higher than low shrubs. Primary food is arthropods. They are cold weather breeders that sing single, upslurred whistled or "peeps". Undetermined population at park.

cajun chorus frog

Cajun Chorus Frog - Pseudacris fouquettei

These small, Winter breeding frogs have undergone several name changes in the last few years; Striped, Upland and now Cajun Chorus Frogs. The populations statewide in Louisiana, east Texas, south Arkansas and west Mississippi were recently described as its own species, distinct from other chorus frogs in the southeastern U.S. Their song has been described as someone slowly running their fingers up a dry comb.

Family Lithobatidae - True Frogs, American Water Frogs

southern leopard frog

Southern Leopard Frog - Lithobates spenocephalus

A variably-colored frog, being mostly either green and brown or just brown. All leopard frogs have spots on their backs, sides and markings on their legs. Their song consists of a low chuckling or a deep croak. Leopard frogs breed year-round, but most often sing in the Winter months.

bronze frog

Bronze Frog - Lithobates clamitans

Bronze frogs are the same basic size and shape as leopard frogs. For the most part, they are uniformly bronzy-brown, some having some pattern on the hind legs. Usually, the lower lip is black-and-white patterned. Spring and Summer breeders, their song sounds like a loose banjo string; "donk, donk-donk-donk".

american bullfrog

American Bullfrog - Lithobates catesbeiana

Bullfrogs are perhaps the most well-known of the frogs in south Louisiana. They are the largest species native to North America, and the most commonly-used species for frying frog legs. Their late Spring and Summer choruses are familiar to even the least-seasoned outdoor folk. The song, which is most often described as "jug-o-rum", can be heard from quite a distance away, despite its low-pitched cadence. Adult bullfrogs are either mostly green (in males) or green with brown blotching (in females). Immatures take a few years to obtain full size, and are mostly brown with green faces. The only other species that can be confused with the bullfrog in appearance would be Pig frog, Lithobates gryllio. On average, Pig frogs are slightly smaller and lack webbing on the hind feet.

Family Eleutherodactylidae

rio grande chirping

Rio Grande Chirping Frog - Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides

This very tiny, south Texas and Mexican species is a relatively newcomer to Louisiana. They were first discovered in Shreveport in 2002, followed by Baton Rouge in 2003 and finally Broussard and Lafayette in 2007. They have a rather loud, high-pitched song which can very easily be passed off as some sort of small insect. They prefer to hide under leaf litter during the day, and usually stay hidden in thick vegetation at night. They start singing in April and continue through Summer into early Fall (Beck and Dobbs, unpublished data, Broussard).

All photos courtesy of Brad M. Glorioso.

To see more photos, view our Facebook page.