Field Guide

Reptiles and Amphibians

Showing 1 - 10 of 13 results
Media
Image of a blanding's turtle
Species Types
Scientific Name
Emydoidea blandingii
Description
Blanding’s turtle has an oval, moderately high-domed upper shell and a long head and neck. This medium-sized turtle is endangered in Missouri.
Media
Photo of a four-toed salamander on a mossy rock.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hemidactylium scutatum
Description
A glacial relict in Missouri’s eastern Ozarks, the four-toed salamander lives among mosses in heavily forested streams and creeks and sinkhole ponds. In the northern part of its range, this salamander lives in peat bogs.
Media
Image of a gray treefrog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hyla versicolor and H. chrysoscelis
Description
Sticky pads on fingers and toes enable these two gray treefrogs to climb and rest on vertical surfaces. In fact, you might occasionally see one resting quietly on the siding of your house, if you live near suitable treefrog habitat!
Media
Image of a great plains toad
Species Types
Scientific Name
Anaxyrus cognatus
Description
Unlike other true toads in Missouri, the Great Plains toad has a raised hump (called a “boss”) between the eyes. Look for it along the Missouri River floodplain, from the Iowa border to about Hermann.
Media
Image of a green treefrog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Hyla cinerea
Description
The bright green treefrog hides perfectly among cattail leaves, where it rests until evening. Then it begins hunting for insects.
Media
Image of a grotto salamander
Species Types
Scientific Name
Eurycea spelaea
Description
Many people know Missouri as “the cave state,” and the grotto salamander is Missouri’s only species of blind salamander. A true troglobite, it lives in total darkness and has small eyes that are completely or partially covered by their pink or beige skin.
Media
Image of an illinois chorus frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Pseudacris illinoensis
Description
With its stout body and thick forearms, the rare Illinois chorus frog may at first appear more like a toad. It lives in open, sandy areas that were formerly sand prairie grasslands and wetlands of southeastern Missouri.
Media
A black salamander with dark silver bands on its tail walks on a concrete pad.
Species Types
Scientific Name
Ambystoma opacum
Description
Unlike many of its close relatives, this salamander breeds in the autumn instead of early spring, and on land instead of in water. Females lay their eggs near a pond, curl protectively around them, then wait until rains make the pond water high enough to cover the eggs.
Media
midland smooth softshell
Species Types
Scientific Name
Apalone mutica mutica
Description
The midland smooth softshell is a rather plain-looking softshell turtle, with a smooth, rather featureless olive-gray or brown shell, and a light stripe bordered by black extending backward from each eye.
Media
Image of a northern crawfish frog
Species Types
Scientific Name
Lithobates areolatus circulosus
Description
A chorus of crawfish frogs, amid the open, grassy flowerbeds of our native prairies, can evoke a profound sense of what our American forebears experienced as they migrated west in their wagons.
See Also

About Reptiles and Amphibians in Missouri

Missouri’s herptiles comprise 43 amphibians and 75 reptiles. Amphibians, including salamanders, toads, and frogs, are vertebrate animals that spend at least part of their life cycle in water. They usually have moist skin, lack scales or claws, and are ectothermal (cold-blooded), so they do not produce their own body heat the way birds and mammals do. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, are also vertebrates, and most are ectothermal, but unlike amphibians, reptiles have dry skin with scales, the ones with legs have claws, and they do not have to live part of their lives in water.