Although New Jersey is not the most iconic hotspot for amphibians, plenty of fascinating frogs roam this area. New Jersey still has a vast selection of terrestrial, aquatic and arboreal frog species.
Many frog species live in New Jersey, such as the American Bullfrog, Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog, Carpenter Frog, Cope’s Gray Treefrog, Eastern Spadefoot, Gray Treefrog, Green Frog, Northern Cricket Frog, Pickerel Frog, Pine Barrens Treefrog, Southern Leopard Frog, Spring Peeper, and the Wood Frog.
With so many interesting frog species wandering the area, it can become tricky to identify which species you may come across. Join me as I discuss the most interesting and common frog species in New Jersey 🙂
|Frog Species||New Jersey Locations||Habitat|
|Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog||East||Semi-aquatic|
|Cope’s Gray Treefrog||State-wide||Arboreal|
|Northern Cricket Frog||State-wide||Aquatic|
|Pine Barrens Treefrog||State-wide||Arboreal|
|Southern Leopard Frog||South||Semi-aquatic|
1. American Bullfrog
American Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) can thrive and even overpopulate just about any type of habitat. This is the largest frog species in North America and is identified by their large tympanums and the lack of dorsolateral folds.
These frogs have green dorsum, which may have brown or gray netlike patterns. They have whitish venters, occasionally spotted with yellow or gray patterns depending on the location. Like all frogs, American Bullfrogs are carnivores, but their uniqueness is they can feed on much larger prey than most frogs including mice, bats, small snakes and birds.
2. Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog
Atlantic Coast Leopard Frogs (Rana kauffeldi) are newly described as a species (Feinberg, 2014), meaning there is little information on their characteristics and behaviors to date. These frogs can range in color, displaying mint-gray tones in light and live olive green shades in darker lighting conditions. These frogs can be found in wetland areas in Eastern parts of New Jersey.
They have varying brown and irregular spots across their dorsum and a black postorbital patch encompassing the dorsal and posterior tympanum. Males typically have large and laterally paired vocal sacs, while the species generally have dark femoral reticulums and dull tympanic spots, distinguishing them from similar frog species (CTNF).
3. Carpenter Frog
Carpenter Frogs (Rana virgatipes) have brownish dorsum topped with two dorsolateral and two lateral golden stripes. The ventral surfaces range from white to pale yellow and may be mottled with brown markings, most prominent on the hind legs. These frogs can generally be found in pine-wooded parts of New Jersey.
4. Gray Treefrog
Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla versicolor) are typically gray, green-gray, brown, or dark brown, and generally have a large irregular star or spot on their backs. They have warty skin and prominent adhesive pads on their fingers and toes. They can be distinguished by a large white spot below each eye, although these spots may be less visible in females.
5. Eastern Spadefoot Toads
Eastern Spadefoot Toads (Scaphiopus holbrookii) contain two subspecies (holbrookii and hurterii), both of which are small in size. They have curved metatarsal tubercles at least three times longer than their width, pectoral glands, and distinct tympana.
Eastern Spadefoot Toads are usually distinguished by two light bands, which form an hourglass shape on the dorsum. They can generally be found in sandy or light soils around rivers and valleys in New Jersey.
6. Cope’s Gray Tree Frog
Cope’s Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) are large and usually appear in shades of gray or green. The environment often affects the exact coloration, but these frogs generally have bright yellow or orange spots amongst black markings on their hind legs. These frogs can generally be found in wet woodland parts of New Jersey.
7. Green Frog
Green Frogs (Rana clamitans) are medium to large, depending on the habitat’s altitude. Their colors typically range between olive green, brown, or bronze, but they can also occur in shades of blue or bicolor variations. These frogs have spots, blotches, or dark pigmentations on their dorsum and have distinct dorsolateral folds. Green Frogs can generally be found in coastal lowlands and freshwater ponds in New Jersey.
8. Northern Cricket Frog
Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans) are slim and medium in size, and are distinguished by their pointed heads, which may have a triangular marking. These frogs have a mid-dorsal stripe in bright green or brown shades, a ragged dark stripe at the rear of the thigh, and various dark markings along their hind legs. They can generally be found around the edges of ponds and slow-moving streams, avoiding wooded areas and dense vegetation in New Jersey.
9. Pickerel Frog
Pickerel Frogs (Rana palustris) have smooth and gray or tan skin, topped with dark brown or black squarish or rectangular blotches along the dorsum. These markings often appear in two irregular rows. Their patterns are emphasized by yellowish dorsolateral folds and a yellow wash on the inner hind legs and underbelly (CTNF).
10. Pine Barrens Treefrog
Pine Barrens Treefrogs (Hyla andersonii) have smooth green dorsal skin, adorned with a plum-toned color band. The concealed areas of the legs have bright orange tones, and the ventral surfaces have whitish tones. They typically have partially webbed toes, free fingers, and small digital pads.
11. Southern Leopard Frog
Southern Leopard Frogs (Rana sphenocephala) are typically slim in shape, featuring long legs and narrow, pointed heads. They are generally distinguished by the lack of digital pads, teeth, and upper jaws, and have dorsolateral folds that extend near their hips. They have green or brown sides and backs topped with distinctive white spots, and they usually have a white dot at the center of their tympanums.
12. Spring Peeper
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Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) are small with a distinguishable ‘X’ marking on their backs. This frog species may be yellow, gray, olive, or brown, and it can also be differentiated from similar frog species by its overall lack of spots, mottling, or stripes. While they are tiny, their mating call is incredibly loud, making them slightly easier to find in mating seasons.
Spring Peeper are hard to find as you will see in my video above. You can generally spot them near freshwater ponds or swamps surrounded by brushy growth or cutover woodlands in New Jersey.
13. Wood Frog
Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) are generally gray or tan, but they can occur in reddish-brown, copper, or gold shades. These frogs are small to medium in size, and females are typically larger than males. They have prominent dorsolateral folds from the head to the vent, smooth to moderately rough skin on their backs, and may have a prominent white mid-dorsal line.
Frog species are incredibly diverse in New Jersey, and most species thrive in Atlantic Coastal Plains. In addition, New Jersey is home to some newly described species as well, making this area an incredibly exciting destination for amphibian enthusiasts and animal lovers alike.
More About Frogs in The USA
I love to go out looking for frogs and if you are in Florida, by all means, make frog searching a part of your trip! Florida is a great place to capture photos of a diverse variety of frogs.
Learn more about where to find frogs in the USA in our guides below:
- 12 Types of Frogs You Can Find in Michigan
- 11 Types of Frogs You Can Find in Wisconsin
- 10 Frogs You Can Find In Georgia
- Where Can You Find Toads in the USA?
- Where Can You Find Frogs in the USA?
- 10 Tips to Find Aquatic Frogs
- 8 Tips to Find Tree Frogs
- 4 Easy Ways to Find Toads
Feinberg JA, Newman CE, Watkins-Colwell GJ, Schlesinger MD, Zarate B, et al. (2014) Cryptic Diversity in Metropolis: Confirmation of a New Leopard Frog Species (Anura: Ranidae) from New York City and Surrounding Atlantic Coast Regions. PLOS ONE 9(10): e108213. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0108213