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RIO GRANDE LEOPARD FROG } Rana berlandieri

RANGE: Southwestern United States, Mexico

STATUS: The Rio Grande leopard frog is considered a Species of Special Protection in Mexico.

THREATS: Predation by bullfrogs and introduced fishes, red-leg disease

Rio Grande leopard frogs love clear, spring-fed streams — but you can tell they’re not snobs, because in the arid deserts where they live, they’ll settle for “streamside habitat” near cattle tanks, ponds, or ditches. These frogs display good desert sense: they shelter under rocks, streamside vegetation, and possibly in borrowed burrows to escape the heat of the day and the harsh sun. There’s plenty of hot, arid land where Rio Grande leopard frogs live in southeastern California, Arizona, southeastern New Mexico, central and western Texas, and Mexico. It’s not the heat that’s killing these creatures off, though; it’s predation by introduced bullfrogs and fishes, and the transmission of red-leg disease.

Photo © Hugo Classen