|Photo by Suzi Manthorpe
Regardless of spadefootedness (What? That's not a word?), there's a great article in the Desert Leaf on how these and other critters survive in our harsh desert. Click here and give it a bit to download. Double click to make larger.
Fred Heath sets me straight:
Sorry Anne, but it’s in the True Frog family: Ranidae and further. it is one of the leopard frogs (note the leopard-like spots). The spadefoots usually don’t appear (from underground) until the monsoon rains start. I’m assuming this frog was not photographed at Sabino, as our only species, the Lowland Leopard Frog (Rana yavapaiensis) was per David Lazaroff (in his Sabino herp book), “Possibly now extirpated in the Recreation Area and from a wide area in the Santa Catalina Mountains.” If it was photographed recently in Sabino, I’m sure David would want to know about it and I’d like to know the exact location. I suppose there is the possibility that it has been introduced by someone who was tired of their pet.
I heard from John Ferner, too:
It seems to me from the resources I have that it is more likely to be a lowland leopard frog if it is from Mt. Lemmon and this part of the county, but either way both of these species are protected. So I think it would be good to forward the photo to someone who is more up on their current distributions like Phil Rosen at the U of A. Arizona leopard frogs are extra special as you know and in these dry times it may be of interest to someone.
I found out from Suzi that her photo was taken on Mount Lemmon (at some point in the past), most likely in the wilderness of rocks area.
Wilderness of Rocks is mostly over 7000 feet. The Lowland Leopard Frog can get up to the Oak Woodland belt, so this seems a bit high for them. But frogs don’t read the books.
Suzi doesn't have easy access to the original photo, so the truth of time and place can't be revealed. Bottom line, though, NOT a spadefoot.
The moral of this story is: Don't put your spadefoot in your mouth!