The Northern Leopard Frog is the best known frog in Minnesota. It is found in every county of the State. They are the best studied frog in the State with over 150 publications dealing with Northern Leopard Frogs. Major researchers of Northern Leopard Frogs include Professors Robert McKinnell, David Merrill and David Hoppe of the University of Minnesota.
Northern Leopard Frogs have two spot pattern variations. The Burnsi phase is spotless and the Kandiyohi phase has extra black between the spots. Both of the phases were described from Minnesota in the 1920’s. Northern Leopard Frogs are the most economically important Minnesota frog in both the bait trade and biological supply business.
Northern Leopard Frogs play an important role in the ecosystem as a major predator on many species of Invertebrates, including pest species, such as grasshoppers. They are also a prey item for many wildlife species, including walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, raccoon, mink, and herons.
Additional information on the Northern Leopard Frog can be found in Amphibians and Reptiles Native to Minnesota by Barney Oldfield and John Moriarty (1994, Univ. of Minnesota Press).
Designating Northern Leopard Frogs as state amphibian will increase public awareness towards frogs and other amphibians. This will show Minnesota’s commitment to the protection of its environment.
State amphibian designation will also help in promoting education to children on the needs and importance of amphibians. This will aid in the protection of amphibians and their habitats.