leopard frog

1. a common North American green frog, Rana pipiens, having white-edged, dark oval spots on its back.
2. any of several similar North American frogs.
[1830-40, Amer.]

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  group of North American frogs (frog) (family Ranidae) occurring throughout North America (except in the coastal band from California to British Columbia) from northern Canada southward into Mexico. At one time the leopard frog was considered a single species, Rana pipiens, but during its wide use as a laboratory frog from the 1940s to the 1960s, developmental and physiological differences were noted in frogs from different geographic areas. These differences and the distinct morphologies indicated that several species were characterized by a similar colour pattern. At present, leopard frogs are contained within the Pantherana clade, which is known informally as the Rana pipiens complex. In the United States and Canada, nine species are recognized: R. berlandieri, the Rio Grande leopard frog; R. blairi, the Plains leopard frog; R. chiricahuensis, the Chiricahua leopard frog; R. fisheri, the Vegas Valley leopard frog (now extinct); R. onca, the relict leopard frog; R. pipiens, the northern leopard frog; R. sphenocephala, the southern leopard frog; R. subaquavocalis, the Ramsey Canyon leopard frog; and R. yavapaiensis, the lowland leopard frog. All leopard frogs are relatively slender-bodied and long-legged, with pointed snouts. They range from about 6 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) in head-body length. All have a pattern of ellipsoidal to circular dark spots on their backs; the size, shape, and colour of these spots differ between species. All are semiaquatic frogs and generally associated with marshy habitats.

      In the 1960s several populations of R. pipiens from Vermont to Minnesota experienced major population crashes. The reason for these declines is not completely known; however, pollution, habitat loss (conservation), increases in ultraviolet radiation resulting from the thinning of the ozone layer (ozonosphere), disease, and overharvesting by laboratories and collectors are often cited. Although not recognized at the time, this event is thought to portend the worldwide amphibian decline that began about 1970 and continues to the present day. While many leopard frog populations have survived and returned to near normal levels, the leopard frogs of the upper Midwest have a high incidence of developmental malformations.

George R. Zug

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Leopard frog — Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala) Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • leopard frog — noun a common greenish brown North American frog which has dark leopard like spots with a pale border. [Rana pipiens.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • leopard frog — noun common North American green or brownish frog having white edged dark oval spots • Syn: ↑spring frog, ↑Rana pipiens • Hypernyms: ↑true frog, ↑ranid • Member Holonyms: ↑Rana, ↑genus Rana …   Useful english dictionary

  • leopard frog — noun Date: 1839 a common frog (Rana pipiens) of northern North America that is bright green or brown with large black white margined blotches on the back; also a similar frog (R. sphenocephala) chiefly of the southeastern United States …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • leopard frog — leop′ard frog n. ram a common North American green frog, Rana pipiens, having white edged dark spots on its back • Etymology: 1830–40 …   From formal English to slang

  • leopard frog — noun Any of several North American frogs, most of which are green with black spots …   Wiktionary

  • Northern Leopard Frog — Conservation status Least Concern ( …   Wikipedia

  • Rio Grande Leopard Frog — Taxobox name = Rio Grande Leopard Frog status = LC | status system = IUCN3.1 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Amphibia ordo = Anura familia = Ranidae genus = Rana species = R. berlandieri binomial = Rana berlandieri binomial… …   Wikipedia

  • Southern Leopard Frog — Taxobox name = Southern Leopard Frog image width = 200px status = LC trend = stable regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata subphylum = Vertebrata classis = Amphibia ordo = Anura familia = Ranidae genus = Rana species = R. sphenocephala binomial =… …   Wikipedia

  • Vegas Valley Leopard Frog — Taxobox name = Vegas Valley Leopard Frog status = EX | status system = IUCN3.1 regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Amphibia ordo = Anura familia = Ranidae genus = Rana species = R. fisheri binomial = Rana fisheri binomial authority =… …   Wikipedia

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