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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Female snout-vent lengths are between 46 and 72 mm and male snout-vent lengths are between 53 and 87 mm. Dorsolateral folds are prominent and lightly colored; they are interrupted posteriorly and deflected medially in the sacral region. There is a supralabial stripe, which is incomplete, and diffuses anterior to the eye. The venter is cream colored, with the yellow coloration of the the groin often extending onto the posterior venter and onto the underside of the legs.

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  • Platz, J. E. (1963). ''Rana yavapaiensis (Platz and Frost) Lowland Leopard Frog.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 418.1-418.2.
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Western and central Arizona and southwestern New Mexico south to northern Sonora and northwestern Chihuahua; southcentral and southeastern California and adjacent Arizona, from San Felipe Creek to the Colorado River (Painter 1985, Jennings and Hayes 1994, Jaeger et al. 2001). Usually below 1000 meters, to 1700 meters in central Arizona (Platz and Frost 1984, Stebbins 1985). Apparently extirpated in Imperial Valley, California, and along the lower Colorado River, Arizona-California, though may be extant in some areas close to the Colorado River in Arizona (Clarkson and Rorabaugh 1989, Jennings and Hayes 1994); replaced by introduced R. berlandieri along the Colorado and Gila rivers, Arizona (Clarkson and Rorabaugh 1989). In Arizona, found in every county except Apache and Navajo with 57% of all localities occurring in Gila, Maricopa, and Yavapai counties (Sredl et al. 1997). Believed extirpated from New Mexico (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1997). Leopard frogs from the Virgin River drainage and adjacent portions of the Colorado River (Black Canyon), mapped as Rana yavapaiensis by Platz (1988), are now believed to represent Rana onca (Jaeger et al. 2001).

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Range Description

This species ranges from western and central Arizona and southwestern New Mexico, in the USA, south to northern Sonora and northwestern Chihuahua, and south-central and southeastern California and adjacent Arizona, from San Felipe Creek to the Colorado River (Painter 1985, Jennings and Hayes 1994). It usually occurs below 1,000m asl, to 1,700m asl in central Arizona (Platz and Frost 1984, Stebbins 1985). It has apparently been extirpated in Imperial Valley, California, and along the lower Colorado River, Arizona-California, though it might be extant in some areas close to the Colorado River in Arizona (Clarkson and Rorabaugh 1989, Jennings and Hayes 1994). It has been replaced by the introduced R. berlandieri along the Colorado and Gila rivers, Arizona (Clarkson and Rorabaugh 1989). In Arizona, it is found in every county except Apache and Navajo with 57% of all localities occurring in Gila, Maricopa, and Yavapai counties (Sredl et al. 1997). It is believed to be extirpated from New Mexico (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1997).
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Distribution and Habitat

Rana yavapaiensis is found in western New Mexico, Arizona and presumably in adjacent parts of Sonora, Mexico. Specimens have also been collected, but not recently, in Imperial Co., California, Overton, Clark Co., Nevada, and near St. George, Washington Co., Utah. The distribution is otherwise fairly continuous, except in Littlefield, Mohave Co., in extreme northwestern Arizona, and in extreme southwestern Arizona.

Populations usually are found in ponds, and in stream and river pools, in scrub desert localities throughout south central and southeastern Arizona. They are also found in adjacent tributaries of rivers flowing into Sonora, Mexico and New Mexico. R. yavapaiensis are most abundant in deep water, where they are protected from predation. In the scrub desert habitats, they are found at elevations below 1000 m. However, some populations in Central Arizona (Yavapai Co.) reach elevations of up to 1700 m.

  • Platz, J. E. (1963). ''Rana yavapaiensis (Platz and Frost) Lowland Leopard Frog.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 418.1-418.2.
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Ecology

Habitat

Sonoran Desert Habitat

This taxon is found in the Sonoran Desert, which comprises much of the state of Sonora, Mexico, most of the southern half of the USA states of Arizona, southeastern California, most of the Baja California peninsula, and the numerous islands of the Gulf of California. Its southern third straddles 30° north latitude and is a horse latitude desert; the rest is rainshadow desert. It is lush in comparison to most other deserts. There is a moderate diversity of faunal organisms present, with 550 distinct vertebrate species having been recorded here.

The visually dominant elements of the landscape are two lifeforms that distinguish the Sonoran Desert from the other North American deserts: legume trees and large columnar cacti. This desert also supports many other organisms, encompassing a rich spectrum of some 2000 species of plants, 550 species of vertebrates, and untolled thousands of invertebrate species.

The Sonoran Desert prominently differs from the other three deserts of North America in having mild winters. Most of the area rarely experiences frost, and the biota are partly tropical in origin. Many of the perennial plants and animals are derived from ancestors in the tropical thorn-scrub to the south, their life cycles attuned to the brief summer rainy season. The winter rains, when ample, support great populations of annuals (which make up nearly half of the plant species). Some of the plants and animals are opportunistic, growing or reproducing after significant rainfall in any season.

Creosote Bush (Larrea divaricata) and White Bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) vegetation characterize the lower Colorado River Valley section of the Sonoran. The Arizona upland section to the north and east is more mesic, resulting in greater species diversity and richness. Lower elevation areas are dominated by dense communities of Creosote Bush and White Bursage, but on slopes and higher portions of bajadas, subtrees such as palo verde (Cercidium floridum, C. microphyllum) and Ironwood (Olneya tesota), saguaros (Carnegiea gigantia), and other tall cacti are abundant. Cresosote Bush (Larrea tridentata) and White Bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) form the scrub that dominates the northwest part of the Sonoran Desert. This association thrives on deep, sandy soils in the flatlands. Where the dunes allow for slight inclination of the slope, species of Mesquite (Prosopis), Cercidium, Ironwood (Olneya tesota), Candalia, Lycium, Prickly-pear (Opuntia), Fouquieria, Burrobush (Hymenoclea) and Acacia are favored. The coastal plains of Sonora are composed of an almost pure Larrea scrub. Away from the Gulf influence in the area surrounding the Pinacate, Encelia farinosa, Larrea tridentataOlneya, Cercidium, Prosopis, Fouquieria and various cacti species dominate the desert.

Many wildlife species, such as Sonoran Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra sonoriensis EN), Desert Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) and the endemic Bailey's Pocket Mouse (Chaetodipus baileyi) use ironwood, cacti species and other vegetation as both shelter from the harsh climate as well as a water supply. Other mammals include predators such as Puma (Felis concolor), Coyote (Canis latrans) and prey such as Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), and the Round-tailed Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus tereticaudus). Other mammals able to withstand the extreme desert climate of this ecoregion include California Leaf-nosed Bat (Macrotus californicus) and Ring-tailed Cat (Bassariscus astutus).

Three endemic lizards to the Sonoran Desert are: the Coachella Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma inornata EN); the Flat-tail Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma mcallii NT); and the Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma notata NT); an endemic whiptail is the San Esteban Island Whiptail (Cnemidophorus estebanensis). Non-endemic special status reptiles in the ecoregion include the Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii VU) and the Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum NT).

There are twenty-four  anuran species occurring in the Sonoran Desert, one of which is endemic, the Sonoran Green Toad (Anaxyrus retiformis). Other anurans in the ecoregion are: California Treefrog (Pseudacris cadaverina); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Sabinal Frog (Leptodactylus melanonotus); Northwest Mexico Leopard Frog (Lithobates magnaocularis); Brown's Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Mexican Leaf Frog (Pachymedusa dacnicolor); Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); Sinaloa Toad (Incilius mazatlanensis); Sonoran Desert Toad (Incilius alvarius); Eastern Green Toad  (Anaxyrus debilis); New Mexico Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii); Cane Toad (Rhinella marina); Elegant Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne elegans);  Little Mexican Toad (Anaxyrus kelloggi); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); and Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii).

The Sonoran Desert is recognized as an exceptional birding area. Forty-one percent (261 of 622) of all terrestrial bird species found in the USA can be seen here during some season of the year. The Sonoran Desert, together with its eastern neighbor the Chihuahuan Desert, is the richest area in in the USA for birds, particularly hummingbirds. Among the bird species found in the Sonoran Desert are the saguaro-inhabiting Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae), Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (Polioptila melanura), Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens) and Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygualis). Perhaps the most well-known Sonoran bird is the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), distinguished by its preference for running rather than flying, as it hunts scorpions, tarantulas, rattlesnakes, lizards, and other prey. The Sonoran Desert exhibits two endemic bird species, the highest level of bird endemism in the USA. The Rufous-winged Sparrow (Aimophila carpalis) is rather common in most parts of the Sonoran, but only along the central portion of the Arizona-Mexico border, seen in desert grasses admixed with brush. Rare in extreme southern Arizona along the Mexican border, the endemic Five-striped Sparrow (Aimophila quinquestriata) is predominantly found in canyons on hillsides and slopes among tall, dense scrub.

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Sierra Madre Oriental Pine-oak Forests Habitat

This taxon is found in the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests, which exhibit a very diverse community of endemic and specialized species of plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. These high mountains run north to south, beginning in the USA and ending in Mexico. The Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests are a highly disjunctive ecoregion, owing to the fact that they are present only at higher elevations, within a region with considerable expanses of lower elevation desert floor.

The climate is temperate humid on the northeastern slope, and temperate sub-humid on the western slope and highest portions of the mountain range. Pine-oak forest habitat covers most of the region, even though most of the primary forest has been destroyed or degraded. However, the wettest portions house a community of cloud forests that constitute the northernmost patches of this vegetation in Mexico. The forests grow on soils derived from volcanic rocks that have a high content of organic matter. The soils of lower elevations are derived from sedimentary rocks, and some of them are formed purely of limestone. In the northernmost portions of the ecoregion, the forests occur on irregular hummocks that constitute biological "islands" of temperate forest in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. To the south, from Nuevo León southward until Guanajuato and Queretaro, the ecoregion is more continuous along the mainstem of the Sierra Madre Oriental.

Dominant tree species include the pines: the endemic Nelson's Pine (Pinus nelsonii), Mexican Pinyon (P. cembroides), Smooth-bark Mexican Pine (P. pseudostrobus), and Arizona Pine (P. arizonica); and the oaks Quercus castanea and Q. affinis. In mesic environments, the most common species are P. cembroides, and Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana), but in more xeric environments on the west slopes of the mountains, the endemic P. pinceana is more abundant. Gregg's Pine (P. greggii) and Jelecote Pine (P. patula) are endemic.

Many mammalian species wander these rugged hills. Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Puma (Puma concolor), Cliff Chipmunk (Tamias dorsalis), Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu), Coati (Nasua narica), Jaguar (Panthera onca) and Coyote (Canis latrans) are a few of the many diverse mammals that inhabit this ecoregion. Some threatened mammals found in the ecoregion are: Bolaños Woodrat (Neotoma palatina VU); Diminutive Woodrat (Nelsonia neotomodon NT), known chiefly from the western versant of the Sierra Madre; Chihuahuan Mouse (Peromyscus polius NT); and Mexican Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris nivalis EN).

A considerable number of reptilian taxa are found in the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests, including three endemic snakes: Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi); Fox´s Mountain Meadow Snake (Adelophis foxi); and the Longtail Rattlesnake (Crotalus stejnegeri VU), restricted to the central Sierra Madre. An endemic skink occurring in the ecoregion is the Fair-headed Skink (Plestiodon callicephalus). The Striped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus) is endemic to the ecoregion. The Sonoran Mud Turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense VU) is found in the ecoregion and ranges from southwestern New Mexico south to northwestern Chihuahua.

The following anuran taxa occur in the Sierra Madre Oriental pine-oak forests: Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); Cane Toad (Rhinella marina); Elegant Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne elegans); New Mexico Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata); Sinaloa Toad (Incilius mazatlanensis); Pine Toad (Incilius occidentalis); Southwestern Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus); Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Plateau Toad (Anaxyrus compactilis); Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus); Sonoran Desert Toad (Incilius alvarius), found only at lower ecoregion elevations here; Rana-ladrona Silbadora (Eleutherodactylus teretistes); Sabinal Frog (Leptodactylus melanonotus); Mexican Leaf Frog (Pachymedusa dacnicolor); Montezuma Leopard Frog (Lithobates montezumae); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Northwest Mexico Leopard Frog (Lithobates magnaocularis); Bigfoot Leopard Frog (Lithobates megapoda), who generally breeds in permanent surface water bodies; Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Tarahumara Frog (Lithobates tarahumarae VU); Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); Taylor's Barking Frog (Craugastor occidentalis); Blunt-toed Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus modestus VU), found only at the very lowest elevations of the ecoregion; Shiny Peeping Frog (Eleutherodactylus nitidus); California Chorus Frog (Pseudacris cadaverina); Rio Grande Frog (Lithobates berlandieri); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Dwarf Mexican Treefrog (Tlalocohyla smithii); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Northern Sheep Frog (Hypopachus variolosus); Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis). There are three salamanders found in the ecoregion: the endemic Sacramento Mountains Salamander (Aneides hardii), found only in very high montane reaches above 2400 meters; Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum); and the Tarahumara Salamander (Ambystoma rosaceum).

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Chihuahuan Desert Habitat

This taxon is found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which is one of the most biologically diverse arid regions on Earth. This ecoregion extends from within the United States south into Mexico. This desert is sheltered from the influence of other arid regions such as the Sonoran Desert by the large mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres. This isolation has allowed the evolution of many endemic species; most notable is the high number of endemic plants; in fact, there are a total of 653 vertebrate taxa recorded in the Chihuahuan Desert.  Moreover, this ecoregion also sustains some of the last extant populations of Mexican Prairie Dog, wild American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope.

The dominant plant species throughout the Chihuahuan Desert is Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata). Depending on diverse factors such as type of soil, altitude, and degree of slope, L. tridentata can occur in association with other species. More generally, an association between L. tridentata, American Tarbush (Flourensia cernua) and Viscid Acacia (Acacia neovernicosa) dominates the northernmost portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. The meridional portion is abundant in Yucca and Opuntia, and the southernmost portion is inhabited by Mexican Fire-barrel Cactus (Ferocactus pilosus) and Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus polyacanthus). Herbaceous elements such as Gypsum Grama (Chondrosum ramosa), Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Hairy Grama (Chondrosum hirsuta), among others, become dominant near the Sierra Madre Occidental. In western Coahuila State, Lecheguilla Agave (Agave lechuguilla), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Purple Prickly-pear (Opuntia macrocentra) and Rainbow Cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus) are the dominant vascular plants.

Because of its recent origin, few warm-blooded vertebrates are restricted to the Chihuahuan Desert scrub. However, the Chihuahuan Desert supports a large number of wide-ranging mammals, such as the Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana), Robust Cottontail (Sylvilagus robustus EN); Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Grey Fox (Unocyon cineroargentinus), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Collared Peccary or Javelina (Pecari tajacu), Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus auduboni), Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys sp.), pocket mice (Perognathus spp.), Woodrats (Neotoma spp.) and Deer Mice (Peromyscus spp). With only 24 individuals recorded in the state of Chihuahua Antilocapra americana is one of the most highly endangered taxa that inhabits this desert. The ecoregion also contains a small wild population of the highly endangered American Bison (Bison bison) and scattered populations of the highly endangered Mexican Prairie Dog (Cynomys mexicanus), as well as the Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

The Chihuahuan Desert herpetofauna typifies this ecoregion.Several lizard species are centered in the Chihuahuan Desert, and include the Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum); Texas Banded Gecko (Coleonyx brevis), often found under rocks in limestone foothills; Reticulate Gecko (C. reticulatus); Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus); several species of spiny lizards (Scelopoprus spp.); and the Western Marbled Whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris marmoratus). Two other whiptails, the New Mexico Whiptail (C. neomexicanus) and the Common Checkered Whiptail (C. tesselatus) occur as all-female parthenogenic clone populations in select disturbed habitats.

Representative snakes include the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake (Bogertophis subocularis), Texas Blackhead Snake (Tantilla atriceps), and Sr (Masticophis taeniatus) and Neotropical Whipsnake (M. flagellum lineatus). Endemic turtles include the Bolsón Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus), Coahuilan Box Turtle (Terrapene coahuila) and several species of softshell turtles. Some reptiles and amphibians restricted to the Madrean sky island habitats include the Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi), Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (C. pricei), Northern Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira septentrionalis), Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), and Canyon Spotted Whiptail (Cnemidophorus burti).

There are thirty anuran species occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert: Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chircahuaensis); Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans); Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides); Cliff Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus marnockii); Spotted Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus guttilatus); Tarahumara Barking Frog (Craugastor tarahumaraensis); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Montezuma Leopard Frog (Lithobates montezumae); Brown's Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti); Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); New Mexico Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata); Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons); Pine Toad (Incilius occidentalis); Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii); Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii); Plateau Toad (Anaxyrus compactilis); Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus); Dwarf Toad (Incilius canaliferus); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis); Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps); and Longfoot Chirping Toad (Eleutherodactylus longipes VU). The sole salamander occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert is the Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

Common bird species include the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and the rare Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus). Geococcyx californianus), Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostra), Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), Scott’s Oriole (Icterus parisorum), Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata), Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens), Worthen’s Sparrow (Spizella wortheni), and Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). In addition, numerous raptors inhabit the Chihuahuan Desert and include the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi).

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Comments: This species preferably inhabits rocky streams in canyon habitats surrounded by conifer forests or ponds and stream pools, usually in areas of scrub desert. Eggs and larvae develop in quiet water.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species preferably inhabits rocky streams in canyon habitats surrounded by conifer forests or ponds and stream pools, usually in areas of scrub desert. Eggs and larvae develop in quiet water.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Mojave Desert Habitat

This taxon is found in the Mojave Desert, the smallest of the four North American deserts. While the Mojave lies between the Great Basin Shrub Steppe and the Sonoran Desert, its fauna is more closely allied with the lower Colorado division of the Sonoran Desert. Dominant plants of the Mojave include Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata), Many-fruit Saltbush (Atriplex polycarpa), Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), Desert Holly (Atriplex hymenelytra), White Burrobush (Hymenoclea salsola), and Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia), the most notable endemic species in the region.

The Mojave’s warm temperate climate defines it as a distinct ecoregion. Mojave indicator species include Spiny Menodora (Menodora spinescens), Desert Senna (Cassia armata), Mojave Indigobush (Psorothamnus arborescens), and Shockley's Goldenhead (Acamptopappus shockleyi). The Mojave supports numerous species of cacti, including several endemics, such as Silver Cholla (Opuntia echinocarpa), Mojave Prickly Pear (O. erinacea), Beavertail Cactus (O. basilaris), and Cotton-top Cactus (Echinocactus polycephalus).

While the Mojave Desert is not so biologically distinct as the other desert ecoregions, distinctive endemic communities occur throughout. For example, the Kelso Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve harbor seven species of endemic insects, including the Kelso Dunes Jerusalem Cricket (Ammopelmatus kelsoensis) and the Kelso Dunes Shieldback Katydid (Eremopedes kelsoensis). The Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma Scoparia), while not endemic to the dunes, is rare elsewhere. Flowering plants also attract butterflies such as the Mojave Sooty-wing (Pholisora libya), and the widely distributed Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).

There are a total of eight amphibian species present in the Mojave Desert all of which are anuran species: the endemic Relict Leopard Frog (Lithobates onca); the endemic Amargosa Toad (Anaxyrus nelsoni); Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); Southwestern Toad (Anaxyrus microscaphus); Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); and the Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla).

The native range of California’s threatened Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) includes the Mojave and Colorado Deserts. The Desert Tortoise has adapted for arid habitats by storing up to a liter of water in its urinary bladder. The following reptilian fauna are characteristic of the Mojave region in particular: Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum NT); Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus), Northern Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis), Western Chuckwalla (Sauromalus obesus), and regal horned lizard (Phrynosoma solare). Snake species include the Desert Rosy Boa (Charina trivirgata gracia), Mojave Patchnose Snake (Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis), and Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus).

Endemic mammals of the ecoregion include the Mojave Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus mohavensis) and Amargosa Vole (Microtus californicus scirpensis); and the California Leaf-nosed Bat (Macrotus californicus).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: Possibly extirpated from peripheral areas of the range in New Mexico and California, but large numbers still occur in areas of Arizona. Information is not available for Mexico. In California, historical records are from 28 locations with the most recent observation in 1965. Has not been observed during recent general herpetological surveys in California and is believed to be extirpated (Jennings and Hayes 1994). In New Mexico, known from 14 historical locations. A 1995 survey of 72 potential locations in New Mexico, including six historical sites that had not been surveyed in the past 10 years, resulted in no observations. New Mexico populations are now believed to be extirpated or occurring in very low numbers (Jennings 1995, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1997). In Arizona, the Natural Heritage Program recorded 302 occurrences with 90% believed to be extant (Sabra Schwartz, pers. comm., 1998). An extensive 1991-1996 survey in Arizona resulted in the relocation of this species at 43 of the 115 historical localities surveyed and at 61 additional new sites (Sredl et al. 1997).

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Global Abundance

Unknown

Comments: Mark-recapture studies conducted annually at six Arizona sites from 1991-1996 resulted in highly variable population estimates among sites and annually within sites. Population estimates were determined using the Lincoln-Peterson method. Individuals were observed every year at only one of the six locations. The following are the ranges of annual population estimates: 1991 (four sites), 41- 704; 1992 (four sites), 19-887; 1993 (two sites), 156-1806; 1994 (two sites), 134-863; 1995 (one site), 92; and 1996 (one site), 70. See Sredl et al. (1997) for more specific individual site information.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Two breeding seasons per year reported in Arizona larvae may overwinter (Platz 1988).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Large number of occurrences still exist in central Arizona (the largest portion of United States range) but, apparently extirpated from other portions of range in the southwestern United States; information is not available for Mexico; populations declining everywhere except central Arizona; ongoing threats from habitat alteration and fragmentation and introduced species; occurs on several state or federal areas in Arizona that are being managed for the species. If the status in Mexico is determined to be drastically declining or extirpated the GRANK should be revised accordingly.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Georgina Santos-Barrera, Geoffrey Hammerson

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 1996
    Not Evaluated
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Global Long Term Trend: Decline of 30-50%

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Population

Population
In California, historical records are from 28 locations with the most recent observation in 1965. It has not been observed during recent general herpetological surveys in California and is believed to be extirpated (Jennings and Hayes 1994). In New Mexico, it is known from 14 historical locations. A 1995 survey of 72 potential locations in New Mexico, including six historical sites that had not been surveyed in the past 10 years, resulted in no observations. New Mexico populations are now believed to be extirpated or occurring in very low numbers (Jennings 1995, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1997). In Arizona, the Natural Heritage Program recorded 302 populations with 90% believed to be extant (S. Schwartz pers. comm., 1998). An extensive 1991-1996 survey in Arizona resulted in the relocation of this species at 43 of the 115 historical localities surveyed and at 61 additional new sites (Sredl et al. 1997).
It has a widespread distribution and has a large number of occurrences. Abundance information has been collected only from a small area in New Mexico and is highly variable. Mark-recapture studies were conducted annually at six New Mexico sites from 1991-1996 resulting in highly variable population estimates among sites and annually within sites. Population estimates were determined using the Lincoln-Peterson method. Individuals were observed every year at only one of the six locations. The following are the ranges of annual population estimates: 1991 (four sites), 41-704; 1992 (four sites), 19-887; 1993 (two sites), 156-1806; 1994 (two sites), 134-863; 1995 (one site), 92; and 1996 (one site), 70. See Sredl et al. (1997) for more specific individual site information.
Populations are considered stable in central Arizona, but the remainder of the USA populations are declining or extirpated. Information is not available from Mexico. In California, the species has not been observed during any recent general herpetological surveys and is believed to be extirpated (Jennings and Hayes 1994). A 1995 survey in New Mexico, where it occurred as recently as 1985, indicates that previously viable populations are now extinct or numbers are very low (Jennings 1995). A 1991-1996 survey in Arizona indicated that populations were stable in central Arizona, dramatically declining in southeastern Arizona, and extirpated from southwestern Arizona (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1997, Sredl et al. 1997).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Rana yavapaiensis has an advertisement call consisting of a series of short notes, and the call may last between 3 and 8 minutes. The first note is usually longer than the six to fifteen following notes. The internode time generally decreases as the call sequence progresses.

  • Platz, J. E. (1963). ''Rana yavapaiensis (Platz and Frost) Lowland Leopard Frog.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 418.1-418.2.
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Threats

Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable

Comments: The greatest threat is habitat alteration and fragmentation and the introduction of non-native predatory and competitive fishes, crayfishes, and frogs (see Jennings and Hayes 1994, Sredl et al. 1997). Habitat alteration is the result of agricultural practices, livestock grazing, development, and reservoir construction (see Jennings and Hayes 1994). Damming, draining, and diverting of water have fragmented formerly contiguous aquatic habitats. In many areas, fragmentation has been accentuated by introduced predatory fishes, crayfish, and bullfrogs. The species has been replaced by introduced R. berlandieri along the Colorado and Gila rivers, Arizona (Clarkson and Rorabaugh 1989). These factors result in the blockage of potential dispersal corridors for recolonization. Populations are also vulnerable to large-scale mortality on a frequent basis due to drought, disease, and sulphur toxicity (Sredl et al. 1997).

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Major Threats
The greatest threats to this species are habitat alteration and fragmentation, and the introduction of non-native predatory and competitive fishes, crayfishes, and frogs (see Jennings and Hayes 1994, Sredl et al. 1997). Habitat alteration is the result of agricultural practices, livestock grazing, development, and reservoir construction (see Jennings and Hayes 1994). Damming, draining, and the diversion of water have fragmented formerly contiguous aquatic habitats. In many areas, fragmentation has been accentuated by introduced predatory fishes, crayfish, and bullfrogs. The species has been replaced by the introduced R. berlandieri along the Colorado and Gila rivers, Arizona (Clarkson and Rorabaugh 1989). These factors result in the blockage of potential dispersal corridors for recolonisation. Populations are also vulnerable to large-scale mortality on a frequent basis due to drought, disease, and sulphur toxicity (Sredl et al. 1997). Chytridiomycosis was confirmed in this species in 1992.
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Management

Global Protection: Few to several (1-12) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: This species occurs in and is being managed for on several state and federally managed lands in Arizona (Sredl et al. 1997). In Mexico it was listed as rare in 1995 (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1997), and is also listed by the Mexican government in the "Special Protection" (Pr) category. It is listed as endangered in California and New Mexico (Jennings and Hayes 1994.

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Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species occurs in and is being managed for on several state and federally managed lands in Arizona (Sredl et al. 1997). In Mexico it was listed as rare in 1995 (New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 1997), and is also listed by the Mexican government in the "Special Protection" (Pr) category. It is listed as endangered in California and New Mexico (Jennings and Hayes 1994). It has been bred in captivity at Phoenix Zoo.
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Wikipedia

Lowland leopard frog

The Lowland Leopard Frog, (Lithobates yavapaiensis), is a species of frog in the Ranidae family that is found in Mexico and the United States; in Spanish it is known as rana de Yavapai. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, rivers, intermittent rivers, freshwater lakes, and freshwater marshes. It is not considered threatened by the IUCN.

References[edit]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Referred to in some literature as "lowland type" of leopard frog (Platz and Frost 1984). Low rate of hybridization with R. chiricahuensis. Jaeger et al. (2001) examined variation in mtDNA and morphology and concluded that certain leopard frog populations in the Virgin River/Black Canyon (Colorado River) region represent a species (R. onca) distinct from R. yavapaiensis.

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