Reptiles and Amphibians
Lithobates palustris (formerly Rana palustris)
The pickerel frog is medium-sized, with square or rectangular spots in two parallel rows down the back. There is a wide ridge of skin along each side of the back. It is absent from the northwestern third of Missouri.
Lithobates sylvaticus (formerly Rana sylvatica)
The wood frog is tan, pinkish-tan, or brown, with a dark brown mask through the eye and ear. It is perfectly camouflaged among dead oak and maple leaves. A rare frog, it lives in cool, wooded hillsides in portions of eastern Missouri and some southwestern counties.
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.