My Texas Anuran Recordings

Even though I have recordings of over 80 species from 5 different countries so far,  most of my frog recording activity has been in my home state of Texas.  I have been recording frogs in Texas for several years now and it occurred to me that I had made a pretty good dent in the species that occur in my home state.  So I compiled a list of species in the state and looked at which species I had recorded somewhere and which of those I had recorded within the state of Texas.  To date, I have recordings of 40/42 species (95%) and have recorded 37/42 (88%) of those species within the state boundaries.   The ones I am missing either have restricted ranges within the state or narrow breeding seasons when I have not been able to get to them.

I am missing:

1. Lithobates palustris (Pickerel Frog) - I have never seen this species and apparently it calls pretty early in the year.  It also doesn't occur within 5-6 hours of where I live so I will need a rainy, early spring weekend.  I don't know of any breeding locations in Texas however so it is going to have to require some searching and listening.

2. Anaxyrus houstonensis (Houston Toad) - The absence of this endangered species on my list is a combination of bad luck and not enough effort.  It breeds in the relict pine forests within 100 miles of me, but most of the well-known and publicly accessible breeding sites were destroyed in a massive fire in 2011.  There are still breeding populations, I just haven't been able to get up there and cross paths with them.  I should be able to get this one.

There are a few species for which I have recordings from elsewhere, but I still need to record in the state of Texas:

1. Anaxyrus americanus (American Toad) - this species has a limited and poorly defined range within Texas.  Furthermore its range is a long drive from me (7-8 hours) and it calls early in the year when I have less flexibility to drive up there.

2. Leptodactylus fragilis (Mexican White-lipped Frog) - this species is restricted to the Rio Grande Valley of southernmost Texas and only calls after periods of heavy rainfall.  I have a few localities picked out, I just need some heavy rain to fall during a time period I am available to make the trip.  A late summer tropical storm would be great, but it has been a few years since one hit south Texas.

3. Lithobates grylio (Pig Frog) - I have heard this species in Texas and have recordings from Florida.  Unfortunately, the salt water storm surge from Hurricane Ike wiped out my known location for them before I could make a trip to get a recording.  I am searching for a new location and hoping they make a comeback in the marshes that were inundated with saltwater.

4. Eleutherodactylus planirostris (Greenhouse Frog) - This is one species I "might" have Texas recordings of.  I have definitely recorded them in Florida, but I have a recording of what might be Eleutherodactylus planirostris from Chambers County, Texas, but I am not sure and I didn't see the frog and it is calling from among dozens of E. cystignathoides.  Their calls and their appearance are very similar!  Unfortunately, their range is likely to be spreading in Texas in the coming years so I will probably be able to fill this gap.

My Woodhouse's Toad recording is terrible as well, so I need to make the effort to improve that one.  Unfortunately, Woodhouse's Toads have been extirpated from large areas of the state where they formerly occured.  We don't know why.

Here's what I have and what I'm missing.  Can I finish them off in 2017?  I don't know, but it gives me something to work towards.....Come on rain!

Scientific Name Common Name RecordedRecorded in Texas
Anaxyrus americanus American Toad X-
Anaxyrus cognatus Great Plains Toad X X
Anaxyrus debilis Green Toad X X
Anaxyrus fowleri Fowler's Toad X X
Anaxyrus houstonensis Houston Toad - -
Anaxyrus punctatus Red-spotted Toad X X
Anaxyrus speciosus Texas Toad X X
Anaxyrus woodhousii Woodhouse's Toad XX
Incilius nebulifer Coastal Plains Toad X X
Rhinella horribilis***Giant Toad X X
Craugastor augusti Barking Frog X X
Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides Rio Grande Chirping Frog X X
Eleutherodactylus marnockii Cliff Chirping Frog X X
Eleutherodactylus planirostris Greenhouse Frog X ?
Acris blanchardi Blanchard's Cricket Frog X X
Hyla arenicolor Canyon Treefrog X X
Hyla chrysoscelis Cope's Gray Treefrog X X
Hyla cinerea Green Treefrog X X
Hyla squirella Squirrel Treefrog X X
Hyla versicolor Gray Treefrog X X
Pseudacris clarkii Spotted Chorus Frog X X
Pseudacris crucifer Spring Peeper X X
Pseudacris fouquettei Cajun Chorus Frog X X
Pseudacris streckeri Strecker's Chorus Frog X X
Smilisca baudinii Mexican Treefrog X X
Leptodactylus fragilis White-lipped Frog X -
Gastrophryne carolinensis Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad X X
Gastrophryne olivacea Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toad X X
Hypopachus variolosus Sheep Frog X X
Lithobates areolatus Crawfish Frog X X
Lithobates berlandieri Rio Grande Leopard Frog X X
Lithobates blairi Plains Leopard Frog X X
Lithobates catesbeianus American Bullfrog X X
Lithobates clamitans Green Frog X X
Lithobates grylio Pig Frog X -
Lithobates palustris Pickerel Frog - -
Lithobates sphenocephalus Southern Leopard Frog X X
Rhinophrynus dorsalis Burrowing Frog X X
Scaphiopus couchii Couch's Spadefoot X X
Scaphiopus hurterii Hurter's Spadefoot X X
Spea bombifrons Plains Spadefoot X X
Spea multiplicata New Mexico Spadefoot XX

** - a recent evaluation of the Eleutherodactylus in Texas suggests that all the Eleutherodactylus in the rocky canyons of west and central Texas are E. marnockii and that E. guttilatus does not occur in the state.  That means another one off the list!

*** - another recent revision of the "Cane Toads" has shown that the species west of the Andes and up into Central and North America is a separate species, the Giant Toad (Rhinella horribilis).  I have chosen this taxonomy here, but also have a blog entry for the introduced Cane Toad (Rhinella marina) from its introduced range in Australia and elsewhere.

© Chris Harrison 2017


  1. Love this blog! Any plans to track down the Houston Toad any time soon?

  2. Amazing blog, thank you for sharing this incredible amount of information! Do you have any plans to track down the Houston Toad in the near future?

    1. It is certainly on my list of frogs to track down. I only have a few TX species left an that is one. I have made a few trips to known localities after spring rains, but no luck so far.