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Leopard frogs, also called meadow frogs, are the archetypal "grass frogs" of North America, a collection of about 14 species within the true frog genus Rana. They are generally very similar, green with prominent black spotting (though actually more like that of a cheetah than that of a leopard). They can be told apart by their distribution and certain rather subtle ecological, behavioral, morphological and genetic traits. Their range extends throughout temperate and subtropical North America to northern Mexicomarker with some species found even further south.

Once abundant in North America, their population has declined in recent years because of pollution and deforestation. Leopard frogs are often used as environment indicator species because of their heightened sensitivity to chemical pollutants found in the air and water, and they are commonly used as dissection specimens in biology classrooms. They were subject of some pioneering studies in evolutionary biology in the 20th century, and continue to be of much interest to various disciplines of biology.

Taxonomy

Leopard frogs were once grouped with the American Bullfrog and relatives in the genus Lithobates. Lithobathes, however, is no longer recognized as a genus by most authors.

Species

Further species may exist in this famous cryptic species complex

The Tsushima Brown Frog is sometimes called "Tsuschima Leopard Frog". It is not very closely related to the leopard frogs proper.

Additional images

File:Northern leopard frog 1.jpg|Northern Leopard Frog

Footnotes

References



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