MARYLAND AT A GLANCE

WILDLIFE

AMPHIBIANS


[photo, Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota), Monkton, Maryland]
  • Amphibians & Reptiles of Maryland (DNR)
  • Common Backyard Amphibians & Reptiles (DNR)
  • Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs & Toads (DNR)
  • Field Guide to Maryland's Salamanders & Newts (DNR)
  • Maryland Amphibians

  • Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota), Monkton, Maryland, October 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


    [photo, Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri), Glen Burnie, Maryland] The Amphibian is an ectothermic (cold-blooded) class of animals which includes frogs, newts, salamanders, and toads. Like most scientific names, Amphibia, is derived from Latin, and means "double life," signifying the importance of both water and land habitats for most amphibians. Indeed, amphibians are born underwater, and possess the necessary traits for such life. After an amount of time (varying by species), they undergo a metamorphosis that dramatically alters their physiology.

    Amphibians are classified into three orders: Anura, Apoda, and Caudata.

    A permit may be necessary to own an amphibian, but one is required in order to breed or sell native species.


    Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri), Glen Burnie, Maryland, May 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    [photo, Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota), Monkton, Maryland] ANURA (tail-less). Includes toads and frogs.

    Frogs, in general, have smooth or moist skin, and long legs for leaping. They tend to be aquatic. Toads, however, especially those in the family Bufonidae, are heavyset with dry, rough, wart-covered skin, and shorter legs used for hopping. Primarily they are terrestrial. There are, of course, exceptions in both cases.

    APODA (tailed amphibians, but without legs). No native species in Maryland.


    Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota), Monkton, Maryland, October 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


    [photo, CAUDATA (tailed amphibians; often simply called salamanders). Includes salamanders, sirens, hellbenders, mudpuppies, and newts.

    Salamanders generally have short bodies, four short legs, long tails, and smooth, moist skin. They can be camouflaged or brightly colored or patterned, and tend to be terrestrial.

    Newts look similar to salamanders, but may have rough skin, and are either aquatic or semi-aquatic.

    "Explore" wall mural, Aliceanna St., Baltimore, Maryland, October 2011. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    [photo, Tadpoles (larval form of frog or toad), Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, Maryland] Hellbenders have four short legs, long, flat bodies, slimy skin, flat heads, and wide tails. They have small eyes, a gill slit behind their heads, and thick, wrinkled folds along their sides. They are aquatic.

    Mudpuppies have long bodies, flat heads, short tails, slimy skin, and small, flat legs. They have external, feather-like gills, and are aquatic.

    Sirens have long, eel-like bodies, tiny front legs and no back legs. With external gills, they are aquatic.

    Tadpoles (larval form of frog or toad), Ladew Topiary Gardens, 3535 Jarrettsville Pike, Monkton, Maryland, May 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


    MARYLAND AMPHIBIANS


    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

    All amphibians noted below are native to Maryland.

    Bullfrog, American (Lithobates catesbeianus)
    Largest member of the Ranidae family, it may reach 8 inches in length. Predominately found in ponds or marshes (free of fish), also in lakes or rivers. Due to its large size, a Bullfrog can jump three to six feet in a single leap, and has a diverse diet. Primarily feeding on insects and crayfish, it may be observed eating snakes, small mammals, birds, and other frogs. Tadpoles hatch from eggs in four to five days, with their metamorphosis lasting as long as three years. Bullfrogs tend to live six to seven years; longest recorded lifespan is sixteen years.

    Frog, Carpenter (Lithobates virgatipes)
    Dark color, usually green, with four lighter dorsal stripes. Lacks dorso-lateral ridges found in other species. Ranges from 1.6 to 2.6 inches long. Primarily found in bogs and wetlands.

    Frog, Eastern Cricket (Acris crepitans crepitans)
    Wart-covered body that is usually brown with green blotches. Dark stripe on each thigh and a dark triangle between eyes. 0.6 to 1.4 inches in length.

    Frog, Mountain Chorus (Pseudacris brachyphona)
    Ranging from olive green to brown, with distinct yellow pigment on lower legs. Other distinct features include a dark triangular pattern on head, and two intersecting dorsal stripes. Usually 1 to 1.25 inches long, with females larger than males. Found in forests and hilly areas, Mountain Chorus Frogs breed in ditches. Eggs hatch in three to five days, with full maturaty reached at fifty-five to sixty days.
    Classified as Endangered.

    Frog, New Jersey Chorus (Pseudacris feriarum kalmi)
    Distinct pattern of three wide dorsal stripes, dark brown or black in color. Off-white belly, occasionally spotted. Ranges from 0.7 to 1.5 inches long. Prefers forest swamps, meadows, and shallow streams. In Maryland, almost exclusively found on the Eastern Shore. Eggs hatch in five to twenty days, with maturity reached at forty to sixty days.


    [photo, Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota), Monkton, Maryland] Frog, Northern Green (Lithobates clamitans melanota)
    Typically green with brown patches or spots, males may have yellow throats. Dorso-lateral ridge extends only to mid-back. 2 to 3.5 inches in length. Green Frogs prefer ponds or marshes (free of fish), but also appear in any area with suitable moisture and food, including ditches and streams. Tadpoles usually mature in a year.


    Northern Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota), Monkton, Maryland, July 2015. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


    Frog, Northern Leopard (Lithobates pipiens)
    Typically green or light brown, body is covered with distinct dark spots and light dorsal ridges. Also possesses noticeable light-colored stripes, running from nose-tip to shoulder. Some 2 to 3.5 inches in length.

    Frog, Pickerel (Lithobates palustris)
    1.75 to 3.5 inches in length. Distinct pattern of square-shaped dorsal spots. To dissuade predators, it secretes a toxic oil (mild irritant to humans)

    Frog, Southern Leopard (Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius)
    Green or brown body, with dark spots on back, sides, and front legs. 2 to 3.5 inches in length. White spot in center of the ear.

    Frog, Upland Chorus (Pseudacris feriarum feriarum)
    Generally brown or gray body. 0.8 to 1.4 inches in length. Dark triangle pointing backward between eyes and dark stripes on back.

    Frog, Wood (Lithobates sylvaticus)
    Tan body with dark coloring around face. 1.4 to 2.8 inches in length.

    Hellbender, Eastern (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis)
    Carnivore; Caudata; averages 9.4 to 16 inches long; weighs 3.3 to 5.5 lbs.
    Classified as Endangered.

    Mudpuppy, Common (Nexturus maculosus maculosus)
    Brown, blue-black, or gray back with dark spots or blotches. Long body, three pairs of red gills. 8 to 13 inches in length. Dark stripe from snout to gills.
    Classified as Endangered (may be extirpated).

    Newt, Red-spotted (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens)
    Olive-green or yellow-brown backs and yellow bellies with black spots. Red spots encircled in a black line runs down the back. 2.3 to 4.8 inches in length.

    Peeper, Northern Spring (Pseudacris crucifer)
    Nocturnal. Brown, gray, or green body with color-changing ability. About 1 inch in length. Dorsal marks form an "X" on the back.

    Salamander, Allegheny Mountain Dusky (Desmognathus ochrophaeus)
    Line of chevron-shaped dark spots runs down back. 2.8 to 4 inches in length.

    Salamander, Eastern Mud (Pseudotriton montanus montanus)
    Red or brown back and sides with black spots. Brown eyes. 3 to 6.5 inches in length.

    Salamander, Eastern Red-backed (Plethodon cinereus)
    Color can be either "redback," red (or orange, yellow, or gray) stripe along back with dark sides, or "leadback," dark gray or black. Both have black and white bellies. 2.3 to 4 inches in length.

    Salamander, Eastern Tiger (Ambystoma tigrinum tigrinum)
    Largest terrestrial salamander. Brown or black body, with olive- or brownish-yellow stripes or spots. 7 to 8.3 inches in length. Classified as Endangered.

    Salamander, Four-toed (Hemidactylium scutatum)
    Brown back with gray sides, white belly with small black spots, four toes on each foot, marked constriction at base of tail. 2 to 3.5 inches in length.

    Salamander, Green (Aneides aeneus)
    Green blotches on back. Square-tipped toes. 3.3 to 5 inches in length.
    Classified as Endangered.

    Salamander, Jefferson (Ambystoma jeffersonianum)
    Color is dark brown or gray. Primarily found in deciduous forests, it spends most of its life underground in burrows abandoned by other animals, near ponds. Average lifespan is six years. Capable of shedding tail to escape predators.

    Salamander, Long-tailed (Eurycea longicauda longicauda)
    Yellow, orange or brown in color with black spots. Herring-bone shaped marking on tail. 4 - 6.3 inches in length.

    Salamander, Marbled (Ambystoma opacum)
    Stout. Black body with light crossbands. 3.5 to 4.3 inches in length.

    Salamander, Northern Dusky (Desmognathus fuscus)
    Grey or brown body with a light stripe on back. Light line runs from eye to jaw. 2.5 to 4.5 inches in length.

    Salamander, Northern Red (Pseudotriton ruber ruber)
    Red, orange or salmon in color with dark spots on back. Yellow eyes. 4.3 to 6 inches in length.

    Salamander, Northern Slimy (Plethodon glutinosus)
    Black in color with silver or gold spots. Sticky when handled. 4.8 to 6.8 inches in length.

    Salamander, Northern Spring (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus porphyriticus)
    Stout. Lungless. Variations of brown or orange in color with darker markings. 4.8 to 7.5 inches in length.

    Salamander, Northern Two-lined (Eurycea bislineata)
    Green-yellow or orange body with dark lines and spots on back. 2.5 to 3.8 inches in length.

    Salamander, Seal (Desmognathus monticola)
    Stout. Gray or brown body with dark brown or black markings. White dots may appear on sides between legs. 3.3 to 5 inches in length.

    Salamander, Southern Two-lined (Eurycea cirrigera)
    Yellow-orange or red-orange body with two brown stripes and speckles. 2.36 to 4.72 inches in length. Newly discovered in 2008.

    Salamander, Spotted (Ambystoma maculatum)
    Black or gray-brown body with two rows of yellow or orange spots. 6 to 7.8 inches in length.

    Salamander, Valley and Ridge (Plethodon hoffmani)
    Brown body with white spots and gold flecks. 3 to 4.5 inches in length with tail comprising 50% of the total.

    Salamander, Wehrle's (Plethodon wehrlei)
    Brown or black with gold or white spots on back and white or yellow spots or bands along sides. 4 inches in length.
    Classified as In Need of Conservation.

    Toad, Eastern American (Anaxyrus americanus americanus)
    Skin color ranges from brown to red, with darker spots and a lighter dorsal stripe. Belly is a mottled color. Adults are 5.1 to 9 inches in length. May be found in any area of Maryland, providing adequate moisture and food. Tadpoles hatch from eggs after a week, and metamorphose in about three weeks.

    Toad, Eastern Narrow-Mouthed (Gastrophyrene carolinensis)
    Skin is mottled, with browns, reds, or grays, two lighter dorsal stripes, and a distinct ridge of skin at the back of its head. Adults are 0.8 to 1.25 inches long. Classified as Endangered.

    Toad, Eastern Spadefoot (Scaphiopus holbrookii)
    Gray-brown in color with yellow lines along back forming a "lyre" shape. Dark brown, sickle-shaped spade on hindfoot. Elliptical pupils. 1.8 to 2.3 inches in length.


    [photo, Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri), Glen Burnie, Maryland] Toad, Fowler's (Anaxyrus fowleri)
    Brown or gray in color with darker spots, as well as a lighter dorsal stripe and white belly. Prefers sandy areas, such as river valleys, and shorelines. Tadpoles hatch from eggs after a week, and metamorphose in four to eight weeks.

    Treefrog, Barking (Hyla gratiosa)
    Generally green in color, but has color-changing ability. Rounds rings on back. Largest treefrog in Maryland. 2 to 2.6 inches in length.
    Classified as Endangered.

    Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri), Glen Burnie, Maryland, May 2012. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    [photo, Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), Glen Burnie, Maryland] Treefrog, Cope's Gray (Hyla chrysoscelis)
    Gray or green in color, but has color-changing ability. Light spot beneath eye. Yellow with black marking on inner thigh. Appearance is the same as the Gray Treefrog, but they have a different call. 1.3 to 2 inches in length.


    Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), Glen Burnie, Maryland, October 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    Treefrog, Gray (Hyla versicolor)
    Gray or green in color, but has color-changing ability. Light spot beneath eye. Yellow with black marking on inner thigh. Appearance is the same as the Cope's Gray Treefrog, but they have a different call. 1.3 to 2 inches in length.

    Treefrog, Green (Hyla cinerea)
    Bright green in color, but can also be dull green, yellow or gray. White or yellow stripe separates back from sides. 1.3 to 2.3 inches in length.

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