Carpenter Frog

Fact File

Scientific Name: Lithobates virgatipes

Classification: Amphibian

Conservation Status:

Size: Up to 3 inches

Distribution: This species is only found in the Coastal Plain region where it occupies habitats with still water and an abundance of aquatic or emergent vegetation. This species is often associated with tea- colored acidic wetlands that contain sphagnum moss. Hence another common name the “sphagnum frog”.

Identifying Characteristics

This is a smaller frog, in comparison to other True Frogs. Body is dark brown with four yellowish or golden brown longitudinal stripes on the back. The dorsolateral folds are absent. Belly is yellowish with dark brown or black spots.

Did You Know?

During the breeding season, males will call on 95% of the nights.

Role in the Web of Life

Seldom found far from water, this species breeds from April-August in cypress ponds, interdunal swales and tupelo-gum swamps. Females lay up to 600 eggs usually attached to vegetation. Their advertisement call pu-tunk, pu-tunk, pu-tunk sounds like carpenters pounding nails. Males will defend their territory from other males through physical bouts. During these wrestling matches, males will interlock their front legs and make an aggressive, growl-like call.


Tier III Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan

Last updated: March 23, 2021