Gopher Frog Taxonomy
Recent genetic evidence has suggested that the gopher frogs in the Florida peninsula may be distinct from populations in the rest of the species’ range and may represent a separate species or subspecies. However, morphological and other comparisons are needed to determine the taxonomic relationships between the peninsular and panhandle populations in this species. If the taxonomy of this species is redefined (e.g., recognition of subspecies or more than one species), it will impact state and federal listing decisions. The gopher frog is under review for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act and was recently delisted from the state Imperiled Species List. This study will examine adult and larval morphological and mating call differences between peninsular and panhandle populations in Florida, as well as the rest of the species’ range and provide an interpretation of gopher frog taxonomy based on the available evidence.