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 were needed to determine the taxonomic relationships between the peninsular and panhandle populations in this species. For this project, FWRI partnered with David Blackburn at the University of Florida Museum to examine differences in external adult anatomy, coloration and pattern of adults, skeletal anatomy, male advertisement calls, and tadpole shape. Specimens and call data were provided by FWRI researchers and additional specimens from university, state, and federal collections were also examined. There was a lack of phenotypic differences between peninsular populations and those of the rest of the southeastern Coastal Plain, which indicates the populations are not two distinct species.