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Arizona's Amphibians
Chiricahua leopard frog Western Narrow-mouthed Toad Couch's SpadefootLowland Burrowing Treefrog Sonoran Tiger Salamander Sonoran Green Toad

Arizona's Amphibian Diversity

It might be surprising to many that in a state known for its arid environments that among the animals comprising Arizona’s rich biodiversity are 25 species of native amphibians, including 24 frog species (i.e., both frogs and toads) and only one species of salamander (the tiger salamander). Indeed, several of these amphibians are only found in some of the most arid parts of the deserts that make up much of Arizona. What might not be surprising is that the aquatic habitats that support many of Arizona’s amphibians  have been diverted or destroyed because of the high demand for water in the state. Many of our amphibians have suffered serious population declines and some, such as the Chiricahua leopard frog and Sonoran tiger salamander, are protected under the Endangered Species Act.   

In addition to the 25 species of native amphibians, Arizona has become home to four types of exotic amphibians: bullfrogs, Rio Grande leopard frogs, African clawed frogs and barred tiger salamanders. Bullfrogs have become so numerous and widespread that they are now seriously threatening native aquatic wildlife populations, particularly amphibians and reptiles.

Many of Arizona’s native frogs, particularly the five species of leopard frogs and the Tarahumara frog, might be considered “typical” stream-dwelling frogs; never being found too far from permanent water where they lay eggs, develop as tadpoles, and live as adult frogs. But, some of the most astonishing adaptations to desert life are exhibited by a number of frogs and toads that live much of their lives buried underground, only to emerge briefly to breed and grow during the summer rains. This group includes “typical” toads like the Sonoran green toad, Couch’s spadefoot, the tiny narrow-mouthed toad, and even a “true” treefrog, the lowland burrowing treefrog. Perhaps one of the most unusual frogs in Arizona is the barking frog, which is found in rocky outcrops where it lays its eggs in relatively dry crevices, and the young develop entirely within the egg and skip the tadpole stage. Thus, despite the relatively few species overall, Arizona can claim to have a richly diverse amphibian fauna.

Below you will find amphibian abstracts containing the following information:

  •  Taxonomy
  •  Biology
  •  Distribution
  •  Population Trends
  •  Management Status (as available)
  •  Illustrations

    NOTE: Some of the following files are PDF's and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. For text-only, use Adobe Access.
NOTE: Distribution maps are based on occurrences in the HDMS database and are not meant to be complete or predicted range maps. Each species has specific criteria that must be met before being entered into the database. Therefore, the resulting maps reflect only the occurrences that meet the species specific criteria.
Nongame Amphibian Species Accounts
Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi
Sonoran Tiger Salamander [PDF, 27kb]
Distribution Map
Bufo debilis insidior
Western Green Toad [PDF, 25kb]
Distribution Map
Bufo microscaphus microscaphus
Arizona Toad [PDF, 17kb]
Distribution Map
Bufo retiformis
Sonoran Green Toad [PDF, 17kb]
Distribution Map
Bufo woodhousii woodhousii
Woodhouse's Toad [PDF, 17kb]
Eleutherodactylus augusti cactorum
Western Barking Frog [PDF, 44kb]
Distribution Map
Gastrophryne olivacea
Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toad [PDF, 27kb]
Distribution Map
Hyla arenicolor
Canyon Treefrog [PDF, 36kb]
Hyla wrightorum
Mountain Treefrog [PDF, 43kb]
Distribution Map
Pseudacris regilla
Pacific Treefrog [PDF, 27kb]
Distribution Map
Pseudacris triseriata
Western Chorus Frog [PDF, 36kb]
Distribution Map
Pternohyla fodiens
Lowland Burrowing Treefrog [PDF, 36kb]
Distribution Map
Rana blairi
Plains Leopard Frog [PDF, 33kb]
Distribution Map
Rana chiricahuensis
Chiricahua Leopard Frog [PDF, 68kb]
Distribution Map
Rana onca
Relict Leopard Frog [PDF, 22kb]
Distribution Map
Rana pipiens
Northern Leopard Frog [PDF, 22kb]
Distribution Map
Rana subaquavocalis
Ramsey Canyon Leopard Frog [PDF, 45kb]
Distribution Map
Rana tarahumarae
Tarahumara Frog [PDF, 49kb]
Distribution Map
Rana yavapaiensis
Lowland Leopard Frog [PDF, 59kb]
Distribution Map
Spea bombifrons
Plains Spadefoot [PDF, 36kb]
Distribution Map
Spea intermontanus
Great Basin Spadefoot [PDF, 50kb]
Distribution Map
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Related AZGFD Info
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button Amphibian Videos
External Resources [More]

Endangered Species Program


USFWS AZ Ecological Services


Chiricahua Leopard Frog Recovery Program


Arizona PARC


Southwest PARC

- Online Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of AZ
- Amphibian ARK

IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group

- Tucson Herpetological Society
NOTE: External sites will open in a new browser window.
Did You Know?
A hunting license is required to capture many of Arizona’s reptile species, and a fishing license is required to capture many of Arizona’s amphibian species (combination hunting/fishing licenses are available).  Protected species are not allowed to be collected even with a license.  Click here for information on purchasing a license. To find about Arizona's amphibian and reptile hunting regulations, click here.

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