New Leopard Frog Species Discovered In New York/New Jersey Region

December 2, 2014

A new species of leopard frog that was originally discovered in the 1930s but was discounted by scientists at the time has been discovered hiding in plain sight in New York and New Jersey. The frog, the Atlantic Coast leopard frog (Rana kauffeldi) is unique from the southern and northern leopard frogs in the region in that its call is different from the other two leopard frogs found in the vicinity. The Atlantic Coast leopard frog’s call has been described as sounding like a groan or a cough, rather than a sound typical of leopard frogs. In addition, genetic analysis of the species confirmed that it is indeed a new species. 

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Herping the Florida Leopard Frog

New Frog Species Discovered. . . In New York City?

Southern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog

The frog, Rana kauffeldi, is named after the ecologist who first discovered the frog in 1937, Carl Kauffield. At the time, other scientists dismissed Kauffield’s find. The naysayers were obviously incorrect in their assessment. 

Atlantic coast leopard frog

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Genetic analysis has confirmed the frog is a new species.

The frog has been found in Delaware river marshlands, the Delaware Bay, areas of New Jersey’s Atlantic coastline, Cape May Point State Park, Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, and the New Jersey Meadowlands and on Staten Island in New York.

John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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