Recognized Subspecies in VA: None
Size: 1.5 - 2.75 inches
Range: Statewide excluding the southcentral and southeastern portions of the state and the Eastern Shore
Status: Least Concern
Meet the frog that freezes solid in the winter, thaws out, and heads straight to the breeding grounds. How does an animal survive freezing solid? Their blood is high in glucose that acts as a cryoprotectant (chemical that stops tissue or substance freezing like antifreeze), meaning their heart can continue pumping and blood flowing. This frog often starts breeding between late January and mid February, and during this time is the best time to find them. They congregate in large numbers to deep vernal pools and start calling. Males often get real dark brown, and females can turn a brilliant peach-color in the breeding season. Females lay massive egg masses of up to 1,500 eggs, and they are usually laid in groups of other Wood Frogs' masses. These eggs are easily identified by the thick gel layer between the outer membrane and the embryo on the center (the black center). Where one finds Wood Frog eggs, they can expect to find Red-spotted Newts nearby, as they are the major predator to these eggs.
Wood Frogs are easily distinguished from other Lithobates by their dark masks around their eyes. This species has paired vocal sacs like Leopards. One can easily find this species by shining vernal pools or road cruising during breeding, but they can also be found at random throughout the year. I have found adults and metamorphs when walking streams, flipping logs, and hiking through forest in the late summer.
Similar Species: Physically, Wood Frogs are easy to separate from other species as they lack spots, have white lips, and dark mask. Sometimes one could mistake a Green Frog, but Greens usually have green lips, and in a real pinch, Wood Frogs will have brown specks on the chin. That said, calls are similar to Southern Leopard and Kauffeld's Leopard Frogs. Luckily there is very little range overlap. Southerns will have a three note "chuckle" (and sometimes grunt), Woods usually a 2 "quack" call, and Kauffeld's have a softer, one note quack.
Calls are a squeaky, flat cackles.
Maps and External Sources
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