Arizona Aquatic Wildlife
Stormwater pollution entering our streams, rivers, and lakes can have a harmful effect on Arizona’s aquatic wildlife.
Each month, we will feature a different aquatic species native to Arizona and found within Maricopa County. This month, learn about:
Lowland Burrowing Treefrog (Smilisca fodiens)
The Lowland Burrowing Treefrog
is a medium-sized frog, averaging 1-2 ½ inches in length. Adults are yellow-brown with dark brown blotches outlined with pale yellow. Juvenile
frogs are bright green in color. These frogs can be identified by a ridge between the eye and the nostril and a prominent fold of skin at the
back of the head. The skin of the head is very hard and firmly attached to the skull.
Lowland Burrowing Treefrogs can be found in xeric environments, living in burrows in mesquite grasslands associated with
major washes. In Arizona, they inhabit valleys within Sonoran Desertscrub and have been found in the Vekol Valley in Maricopa County.
While they are typically found on the ground, these frogs have also been found in trees and small shrubs. Lowland Burrowing
Treefrogs spend 8-10 months underground in their burrows. While dormant they form a cocoon to prevent desiccation. This species also uses its
head to block the burrow opening to help reduce water loss and as protection from predators.
Lowland Burrowing Treefrogs emerge from their burrows with substantial summer monsoon rains. They gather around temporary
pools in washes or other impoundments to breed.
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