Sheep Frog
Hypopachus variolosus
Karnes County, Texas

The Sheep Frog (Hypopachus variolosus) is a pudgy Microhylid that is widespread from Central America all the way up into South Central Texas.  They are poorly known because of their habits.  This species stays buried in the ground or in burrows until heavy rains fall.  Then it quickly comes to the surface to breed in flooded ditches, ponds and fields before the water dries up.
They breed at night and by morning they are gone again.  Many people live in their range without ever seeing one, although their call is pretty easy to hear.

The name comes from their bleating sheep-like call.

This particular chorus of Sheep Frogs was calling from several flooded ditches in Karnes County, Texas which is just outside of their known range. This is further evidence that this species occurs in a wider area than is suspected in SC Texas.

This species is listed as protected in Texas because it is perceived to be threatened with extirpation. However, I believe this species is fairly common over a large part of its Texas range and is under little more threat of extinction than any other South Texas animal (fracking is really taking a toll on south TX fauna!) and the protection is probably unwarranted. Furthermore, this species is common from central Texas and all the way down into the lowlands of Central America.

© Chris Harrison 2014

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