FrogWatch USA

AZA-FrogWatch USA Logo
Do you have 5 minutes a month to help amphibians? Would you like to become part of a scientific field research team? You can! Refer to the links and documents at the bottom of this page to learn how.

FrogWatch USA is AZA’s flagship citizen science program that allows individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads. For over ten years, volunteers have been trained to enter their FrogWatch USA information and ongoing analyses of these data have been used to help develop practical strategies for the conservation of these important species.

Why Frogs?
Frogs and toads have served as important cultural symbols for centuries; this can range from symbolizing fertility in ancient Egypt, luck in Japan, and rain gods for some Native American cultures to Kermit the Frog’s status as a modern-day celebrity. Frogs and toads have been vitally important in the field of human medicine and compounds from their skin are currently being tested for anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties.

Frogs and toads also play an important role, serving as both prey and predator, in wetland ecosystems and are considered indicators of environmental health. Many previously abundant frog and toad populations have experienced dramatic population declines both in the United States and around the world and it’s essential that scientists understand the scope, geographic scale, and cause of these declines. Did you know that nearly 1/3 of all amphibian species in the world are threatened and nearly 168 known amphibian species went extinct within the past two decades? The most important factors in the decline have been habitat destruction and diseases such as chytridiomycosis and ranavirus.

Frogs and Toads of Miami-Dade County

 There are 13 species of frogs and toads in Miami-Dade County.  Ten of these are native and three of them are introduced species.  Click on each species to find out facts about each species, pictures for identification and listen to their calls.

Native Frogs and Toads

  1. Florida Cricket Frog

    Acris gryllus dorsalis
    • Size: ¾” to 1 ¼”
    • Calls from June to August in South Florida
    • Highly variable in coloration
    • Sounds like striking two marbles together

  2. Southern Chorus Frog

    Pseudacris nigrita
    • Size: ¾” to 1 ¼”
    • Calls from June to August in South Florida
    • Highly variable in coloration
    • Call sounds like running your fingernail across a comb

  3. Little Grass Frog

    • Size: Up to ¾”
    • Calls from June to August in South Florida
    • Very hard to find and even hear the call
    • Call sounds like a high pitched insect buzz/trill
     
     
     
     
     
  4. Oak Toad

    A quercicus
    • Size: Up to 1 ¼”
    • Calls from June to August in South Florida
    • Smallest “True Toad” in Florida
    • Call sounds like the “peeps” of a baby chick
     

  5. Southern Toad

    A terrestris
    • Size: Up to 4”
    • Calls from January to September in South Florida
    • Largest native toad in the area
    • Call sounds like a high pitched buzz/trill

  6. Eastern Narrowmouth Toad

    G carolinensis
    • Size: ¾” to 1 ¼”
    • Calls from April to September in South Florida
    • Not a “true toad” as the name suggests
    • Call sounds like a nasal whine

  7. Green Tree Frog

    Green Tree Frog
    • Size: Up to 2 ¼”
    • Calls from March to September in South Florida
    • A solid white stripe down most of the body
    • Call is like a nasal “queenk, queenk” sound

  8. Squirrel Tree Frog

    H squirella
    • Size: Up to 1 ¾”
    • Calls from April to September in South Florida
    • Highly variable in color and pattern
    • Call sounds like an angry squirrel

  9. Pig Frog

    L grylio
    • Size: Up to 6”
    • Calls from May to January in South Florida
    • Largest species of native frog in the area
    • Call sounds like a….PIG!
     

  10. Southern Leopard Frog

    L sphenocephala
    • Size: Up to 3 ½”
    • Calls from May to January in South Florida
    • Green or brown in color with 2 lateral stripes
    • Call like running your finger across a balloon

Non-native Frogs and Toads

  1. Marine Toad

    R marina
    • Size: Up to 6”
    • Calls from April to October in South Florida
    • Largest terrestrial amphibian in Florida
    • Call is a low pitched, drawn out trill
     
     
     
     

  2. Cuban Tree Frog

    O septentrionalis
    • Size: Up to 5 ½”
    • Calls from April to October in South Florida
    • Highly variable in color and pattern.
    • Call sounds like a raspy snore

     
     
     

  3. Greenhouse Frog

    E planirostris
    • Size: Up to 1 ¼”
    • Calls from April to September in South Florida
    • Reproduction through direct development
    • Call sounds like a very quiet, high pitched chirping

     
     

 
What is Citizen Science?
While an exact definition of citizen science remains elusive, it generally refers to research collaborations between scientists and volunteers that expand opportunities for scientific data collection while also providing access to scientific information for community members. Citizen science programs may be appropriate for supporting research questions that are long-term and/or large-scale in nature, requiring significantly more data than a single researcher or small research team could compile. To date, long-term data collected by citizen scientists has provided evidence about species distribution as well as identified some impacts climate disruption has had on wildlife. Moving forward, as the pace of large-scale ecosystem change increases, data collected by citizen scientists will continue to grow in importance.

Become a FrogWatch USA Volunteer
You do not have to be a frog or toad expert to be a FrogWatch USA volunteer. All you need is an interest in frogs and toads and a willingness to participate in a volunteer training session with the Zoo Miami FrogWatch USA Chapter. You would then monitor a site, of your choosing, for 3 minutes at least once a month throughout the breeding season to listen for calls. You don’t even have to find or have to identify frogs or toads by sight, just listen.

Frog and toad breeding season generally extends from April through September in South Florida depending upon temperature, rainfall, length of the day, and biological factors for a specific locality and each species. Some species can be heard calling year round in South Florida but we hope to concentrate our efforts in the breeding season.
Zoo Miami’s FrogWatch USA Chapter holds meetings throughout the year to explain the program and train interested volunteers. Look for training session dates and locations on this webpage or in the Zoo’s newsletter.

To find out more about amphibian declines, please, visit these websites:
AmphibiaWeb
Amphibian Ark

FrogWatch USA Volunteer Resources
Monitoring Protocols
Monitoring Datasheets
Monitoring Site Registration Forms
Find a Wetland Near You
How to Assess Weather Conditions