4 COMMON Amphibians in Nevada (ID Guide)

Are you wondering what amphibians you can find in Nevada?

common amphibians in nevada

 

This is a great question! Although amphibians are widespread, they can be challenging to locate. Most amphibians, including frogs, toads, and salamanders, are secretive and shy. But in my opinion, looking for amphibians is a really fun experience!

 

Below you will find a list of the most COMMON and interesting amphibians that live in Nevada. In addition, you will find detailed pictures, along with range maps for each species to help with your identification!

 

 

4 Types of Amphibians That Live in Nevada:

 


#1. Northern Leopard Frog

  • Lithobates pipiens

species of amphibians in nevada

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults range from 2 to 4.5 inches long.
  • Smooth skin is green, brown, or yellow-green with large dark spots.
  • Lighter-colored raised ridges extend down the length of the back.

 

You can spot these amphibians in Nevada near slow-moving bodies of water with lots of vegetation. Northern Leopard Frogs are easy to see in or near ponds, lakes, streams, and marshes. I love how bright green most individuals appear!

Northern Leopard Frog Range Map

northern leopard frog range map

Due to their fairly large size, these amphibians eat various foods, including worms, crickets, flies, small frogs, snakes, and birds. In one study, a bat was even observed being eaten!

 

During the spring breeding season, the males will float in shallow pools emitting a low call thought to sound like snoring. However, the Northern Leopard Frog may also make a high, loud, screaming call if captured or startled.

 

Northern Leopard Frog populations are declining in many areas, and the cause is not exactly known. It’s thought to be a combination of habitat loss, drought, introduced fish, environmental contaminants, and disease.

 


#2. Western Toad

  • Anaxyrus boreas

types of amphibians in nevada

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult length is 2-5 inches.
  • Coloring can range from yellowish, tan, gray, or green with a pale stripe along the back. The Western Toad also has dark blotches with rust-colored edges and warts.
  • Males have smoother, less blotchy skin than females.

 

As its name suggests, the Western Toad lives in the western part of the continent. It has a wide range of habitats, including desert streams and springs, forests, lakes and rivers, and backyard gardens with pools nearby.

Western Toad Range Map:

 

Unlike most other toads, Western Toads don’t often hop!

 

Instead, they walk, picking up 1 or 2 legs at a time. You can see this unique movement below!

 


#3. Woodhouse’s Toad

  • Anaxyrus woodhousii

common amphibians in nevada

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adult length is 2 ½-4 inches.
  • Coloring ranges from gray to yellowish or olive green.
  • The belly is light tan or buff, with very few dark spots on the chest.

 

Woodhouse’s Toads are adaptable to many environments, including grasslands, deserts, floodplains, and developed areas. Interestingly, individuals that live in suburban areas will wait under street lamps to catch and eat insects attracted to the light.

Woodhouse’s Toad Range Map:

 

The most striking feature of these amphibians is their shape – they are round and stout, with short legs that look too small to support their bodies!

 

Woodhouse’s Toads have a very short call that resembles a distressed sheep’s bleat.

 


#4. Western Tiger Salamander

  • Ambystoma mavortium

kinds of amphibians in nevada

Identifying Characteristics

  • Adults range from 3 to 6.5 inches in length.
  • Their coloring is greenish-yellow with black markings, ranging from large spots and stripes to small irregular shapes on the head, back, and tail.
  • This species has a thick body and neck and a short snout.

 

Western Tiger Salamanders are secretive and spend much of their time underground. You’re most likely to see these amphibians moving about and foraging on rainy nights. Their favorite hiding spots are burrows, which they can make themselves or borrow from other animals.

Interestingly, Western Tiger Salamanders have four distinct morphs as adults. Scientists classify them by whether they are aquatic or terrestrial and what they eat. For example, a typical Western Tiger Salamander eats insects and frogs, breathes above water, and spends time on land.

 

However, there is a terrestrial morph that cannibalizes other Western Tiger Salamanders! In addition, there are cannibalistic and non-cannibalistic AQUATIC morphs that have gills and breathe underwater.

The aquatic individuals are called paedomorphs, and while they are mature and able to reproduce normally, they retain a lot of the features of larval Western Tiger Salamanders. The most obvious feature is their frilly, long gills!

 


What types of amphibians in Nevada have you seen?

 

Let us know in the comments!

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