Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Environmental Department
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Leopard Frog

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Frog and Tadpoles of Northwestern Nevada and the PLPT Reservation

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation is located in northwestern Nevada on beautiful Pyramid Lake.  The Truckee River, which runs from Lake Tahoe and terminates in Pyramid Lake, flows through the PLPT Reservation.  Many oxbows are found along the Truckee River, which provide suitable habitat for frogs found on the reservation.  Frogs can also be found in natural desert springs and seeps amongst the mountains of the reservation.

The Pyramid Lake Environmental Department began raising frogs from eggs that they found in various springs, oxbows, and seeps on the reservation in the spring of 2003.  Four types of eggs and tadpoles were found, Spadefoot Toads, Western Toads, Pacific Tree Frogs and Leopard Frogs.     Many hours of looking for information about tadpoles of these species were spent on the internet, but little information could be found.  Here, we have tried to make a thorough web page containing information on how to identify and raise these toad and frog species. 

The PLPT reservation contains the last remaining Northern Leopard Frog species along the Truckee River.  This Leopard Frog is considered a threatened species.  The PLPT Environmental Department has been monitoring these populations and reconstructing suitable living and breeding habitat for the frogs.

                           frogTHE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FROGS AND TOADS

The main difference between frogs and toads is their skin.  Toad skin is bumpy and dry while frog skin is smooth and moist.  Secretions from glands in frog skin keep the amphibian wet.  Frogs breathe through their skin and lungs, so keeping moist is important for them.  Toads do this to a lesser extent. 

There is also a key difference in where frogs and toads lay their eggs and what the eggs look like.  Frogs will lay eggs in clumps around something stable such as a clump of rush in shallow water.  Toads lay their eggs in strands, which sort of look like a length of shoelace, in deeper water than the frogs lay their eggs.  Their eggs will usually end up winding around water plants.

Frog EggsToad eggs
                                                                                 Clump of Frog Eggs         Strands of Toad Eggs



Western Toad    Bufo boreas
Tadpoles hatching  Western Toad Tadpoles  Western Toad Morph  Western Toad Western Toad Tadpoles Hatching          Western Toad Tadpoles            Western Toad Juvenile (Notice Tail)              Western Toad Adult

Western toad tadpoles are extremely small and are dark black, even while the toad is developing into an adult. 

Pacific Tree Frog   Hyla regilla
Tree Frog Juvenile     Pacific Tree Frog

                                                                       Pacific Tree Frog Juvenile                  Pacific Tree Frog Adult

The Pacific Tree Frog can be found clinging to vegetation or swimming in wetland seeps or springs on the PLPT reservation.  There are two color morphs found on the reservation, one bright green as pictured in the adult pacific tree frog picture above and one brown.  The Pacific tree frog tadpoles that were raised were found swimming with spadefoot toad tadpoles in the wild.  We did not realize that we had tree frog tadpoles until we examined their eye color (they have gold colored, shiny eyes instead of the black colored eyes that the spadefoot toad tadpoles have) and saw that they were much smaller than the spadefoot tadpoles. 

Northern Leopard Frog   Rana pipiens
Leopard Frog Egg Mass   Leopard Frog Tadpoles   Leopard Frog Juvenile   Leopard Frog
             Leopard Frog Egg Mass                   Leopard Frog Tadpoles        Leopard Frog Juvenile (Notice Tail)            Leopard Frog Adult

Great Basin Spadefoot Toad    Spea intermontana
Spadefoot Tadpoles   Spadefoot Morph   Spadefoot Juvenile   Spadefoot Toad

            Spadefoot Toad Tadpoles               Spadefoot Toad Morphing               Spadefoot Toad Juvenile                 Spadefoot Toad Adult                                                                                        into Adult                                   (Notice Small Tail)

Great Basin Spadefoot Toads are a yellowish color when they are developing.  They have gold flecks on their skin.  Their underbelly has a gold sheen with hints of rainbow colors and their eyes are dark black.  Their bodies are about an inch long and their tails are about an inch and a half.

 Bull Frog    Rana catesbeiana
Bull Frog

Bullfrogs are considered an invasive species on the PLPT reservation.  They grow to be the size of a large tea-saucer, sometimes even bigger.  They feed on large insects and fish, as well as the precious threatened leopard frog.  The PLPT has been working on eradicating the bull frog, but not much can be done at this time.

Interesting Pictures...

Spadefoot and Tree Frog         Spadefoot Toads
                                              Spadefoot Toads on Left Side of                                             Spadefoot Toad Color Morphs
Rock and Tree Frog on Right Side 


Tanks             Frog Tank 
                                                            Tadpole and Adult Tanks                                                  Adult Tanks

Six 20 gallon fish tanks were set up in the Environmental Department building to raise eggs and tadpoles.  They were cleaned with a VERY dilute bleach and water mixture.  The excess chlorine in the tanks was rid of by filling the tanks with water and then adding de-chlorination drops that can be found at any pet store.  Four of the tanks contained basic aquarium rocks.   The rocks were cleaned repeatedly with water to get rid of any dust.  About a one inch layer of the aquarium rocks were added to each of the four tanks.  A large rock was placed into each tank to simulate their habitat.  The tanks were filled about half way with water that had been sitting overnight to allow the water come to room temperature.  (Air-aters) were added to each tank.  Two large hallogen lamps were rotated amongst the four frog tanks.  The lamps were on for about 24 hours at a time on each of the tanks to keep the water warm.

The tadpole eggs were carefully taken from where they were found by gently separating about a quarter of an egg mass from its group and putting it in a large bucket with water from the area that the eggs were found.  Tadpoles were collected by scooping them into a jar.  The tadpoles were placed directly into the water while the eggs were placed in a mesh "basket" (see Western Toad Tadpoles Hatching picture above) until all of the tadpoles hatched.  The water was changed every other day with fresh water that came from an outside tap and that had been sitting overnight. 

Two adult frog tanks were set up, one for the spadefoot toads, tree frogs, and leopard frogs and one for the western toads.  The western toad tank contained about a half inch layer of aquarium rock and small pools of water were made with the rocks and water.  A screen was placed on top.  The second frog tank contained a large glass bowl with water and a rock and twigs for the morphing frogs to climb on.  A half inch layer of aquarium rocks and "simulated leaf litter" that contained soil, bark and twigs was placed on the bottom of the aquarium.  Western frogs like to burrow, so this layer of "leaf litter" was needed.  A top was added to the catch to prevent any escapes.

Tadpoles feeding
Tadpoles feeding

Newly hatched tadpoles had access to algea to feed on.  When the algea supply was gone, we fed the tadpoles spirulina food disks that can be found at your local pet store.   They were fed two disks per tank per day as well as several pinches of fish flake food.  Adult toads and frogs were fed blood worms and meal worms, although they did not take to these too well.  The toads and frogs were released about one to two weeks after they hatched.



How to Raise Tadpoles:

Raising Tadpoles:

Tadpole Morphology:   http://www.pwrc.usgs.gove/tadpole/tadmorp.htm

Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key:

Link to Frog Walking Game:


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