Carpenter Frog (Rana [Lithobates] virgatipes)

Carpenter Frog (Rana [Lithobates] virgatipes)

Photos by J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

Description: The Carpenter Frog is a mid-sized frog, ranging from 1 ? -2 ? in (4.1-6.7 cm). It is generally brown or bronze in color with 4 light stripes down its back, and no dorsolateral ridges. Carpenter Frogs have short hind legs, making them somewhat toad-like in body shape and a venter that is white with black mottling.

Range and Habitat: Carpenter Frogs are found along the eastern coast of United States from New Jersey to Georgia. In our region, they are restricted to the Coastal Plain and are usually associated with acidic sphagnum bogs, blackwater swamps, and in stands of grasslike vegetation.

Habits: Carpenter Frogs are highly aquatic and are usually found in, or close to water. Males call from the edges of aquatic habitats in the late spring and summer. During courtship, female Carpenter Frogs respond to male mating calls with a chirping noise. This in turn elicits an aggressive male call similar to its territorial call used when in conflict with another male.

Call: The carpenter frog’s call sounds like the hammering of a carpenter, giving the forg its common name.

Conservation Status: Listed in Georgia as rare or uncommon. The specific habitat requirements of this species make it susceptible to habitat loss and degredation.

Pertinent Reference:
Given, M.F. 1993. Male response to female vocalizations in the carpenter frog, Rana virgatipes. Animal Behaviour 46(6):1139-1149.

Account Author: Christina Baker, University of Georgia – revised by J.D. Willson, Lauren Maynor, Katrina Ford