Lithobates blairi


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Lithobates blairi
Species Authority: (Mecham, Littlejohn, Oldham, Brown and Brown, 1973)
Common Name(s):
English Plains Leopard Frog
Rana blairi Mecham, Littlejohn, Oldham, Brown and Brown, 1973

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor(s): Geoffrey Hammerson
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species can be found in the United States in the southern edge of South Dakota to central Texas (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999), west to eastern Colorado (Hammerson 1999) and central New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996), east in the Prairie Peninsula to Indiana, south along the Mississippi River to southeastern Missouri (Johnson 1987). Disjunctive populations occur in southeastern Arizona (Clarkson and Rorabauch 1989), and an apparently introduced population at Ashurst Lake, Coconino County, north-central Arizona (not mapped here) (Brown 1992). It occurs to elevations of around 1,800m asl in Arizona and Colorado, 1,000-2,250m asl in New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996). Stebbins (1985) reported the elevational range as 110-2,590m asl.
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are hundreds of occurrences (Brown 1992) of this species. Most state accounts do not distinguish between historical and recent occurrences. Recorded from virtually every county within its range in Texas (Dixon 2000). Documented in every one of several dozen counties in Kansas (Collins 1993). Recorded in nearly every county (about 47) within the range in Missouri (Johnson 1987). Lynch (1978) mapped well over 100 collection sites in Nebraska. Recently recorded from about 25 counties in Illinois; 17 additional counties have pre-1980 records; widespread but not abundant in peripheral prairie remnants and south along the Mississippi River bottomlands (Phillips et al. 1999). Hammerson (1999) mapped approximately 100 collection/observation sites in Colorado. Degenhardt et al. (1996) recorded 100+ locations in New Mexico. It is "locally common" and "commonly seen" in suitable habitat in north central Texas and the Texas Panhandle (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999, Dixon 2000). It is common throughout Kansas, found in every aquatic situation (Collins 1993). It is widespread and locally common throughout historical range in Colorado (Hammerson 1999). Declines or extirpations of local populations have been noted in Iowa (Christiansen and Bailey 1991), Illinois (Phillips et al. 1999), Arizona (Frost and Bagnara 1977, Frost 1983, Clarkson and Rorabaugh 1989), Colorado (Hammerson 1982, 1999), and Texas (Platz 1981); see also Hayes and Jennings (1986). However, these declines have been noted primarily around the margins of the range; the species apparently remains common and relatively stable in the range core.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is usually found in the vicinity of streams, ponds, creek pools, reservoirs, irrigation ditches, and marshes in areas of prairie and desert grassland, farmland, and prairie canyons. Stebbins (1985) also mentioned oak and oak-pine woodland as habitat. It is generally found in or near water, but it may range into surrounding terrestrial habitat in wet weather. When disturbed, it often seeks refuge in vegetation surrounding bodies of water. It burrows into mud and leaves of pond and stream bottoms in winter. It has been found in caves in Oklahoma. See Brown (1992) for further details for various states. Eggs and larvae develop in temporary or permanent pools, ponds, flooded areas, sloughs, and marshes, commonly in muddy water. Males frequently call while floating at the water surface (Brown 1992).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Suggested causes of declines or extirpations of local populations include water pollution; groundwater pumping; introduction of exotic fishes and amphibians; agricultural development; increased aridity/drought; habitat loss or alteration; toxicants; competition with Rana berlandieri; and predation by, competition with, and/or larval inhibition by bullfrogs (see Brown 1992 and Hammerson 1999). In Illinois, most of original habitat has been rendered unsuitable by agriculture (Phillips et al. 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Many populations are in preserves of various types, but this does not ensure adequate protection from exotic species.

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Lithobates blairi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 24 October 2014.
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