A national symbol is an item that represents or symbolizes a country. It can be the flag, the seal of the country, a specific animal, plant, color, artifact, or the national anthem. The national symbols of the United States include the Seal of the United States, the flag, and the national anthem. Each of 50 states of America has its official state symbols that represent the natural treasure, cultural heritage, and the people of the state. The adoption of state symbols began in 1893 when a National Garland of Flowers was created for the World's Fair in Chicago. The garland consisted of flowers collected from each state. State symbols are not unique, and a state can have more than one symbol, in fact, several states have the same symbols. 23 US states and Puerto Rico have designated amphibians as one of their state symbols, with several states sharing the same amphibian.
The Most Common US State Amphibians
The American bullfrog was adopted as the state symbol of Iowa (unofficial), Oklahoma (1997), Missouri (2005), and Ohio (2010). These states designated the American bullfrog as the state symbol because it is the largest frog in North America and can be found in plenty in marshes, ponds, and slow-moving streams across the states. The frog is known to eat other frogs, mice, crayfish, and insects. During mating season, these frogs croak loudly that we can be heard from a mile away. The lifespan is between seven and nine years with a maximum of eleven years.
The Spotted Salamander
The spotted salamander was adopted as the state amphibian in Ohio and South Carolina in 2010 and 1991 respectively. The Ohio lawmakers settled for the spotted salamander because it inhabits every corner of the state. South Carolina designated the amphibian after a third-grade class at Woodlands Heights Elementary School in Spartanburg campaigned for its adoption because it is the only amphibian native to the state. The spotted salamander inhabits semi-permanent pools in deciduous forests but avoids pond with fish and constant flooding.
Western Tiger Salamander
The western tiger salamander or barred tiger salamander was adopted as the state amphibian for Kansas and Colorado in 1991 and 2012 respectively. Both states opted for the salamander because it can be found in plenty within the respective state boundaries. The salamander is nocturnal and feeds on various insects, earthworms, and slugs.
American Green Tree Frog
The American green tree frog was designated the state symbol for Louisiana in 1993 and Georgia in 2005. The green tree frog is found in abundance in ponds, canals, and swamps across Louisiana and Georgia, and it was for the reason that Louisiana opted for the frog. Georgia chose the frog to represent the diverse number of amphibians in the state. The frog feeds on spiders and insects but is fed on by snakes, raccoons, and fish.
Northern Leopard Frog
The northern leopard frog was designated the state symbol of Vermont and Minnesota in 1998 and 1999 respectively. Vermont opted for the frog because it is considered an endangered species in the state and for its beautiful colors. Minnesota settled for the northern leopard frog to help in the conservation of the endangered species.
States with More Than Two Amphibians
The states of Ohio and North Carolina are the only two states in the country that have more than one amphibian listed as a state symbol. Ohio designated the spotted salamander as the state amphibian and the American bullfrog as the state frog in 2010. North Carolina designated both the Pine Barrens tree frog as the state frog and the marbled salamander as the state salamander in 2013. North Carolina designated the two amphibians to raise awareness of the importance of amphibian conservation.
US State Amphibians
|Rank||State/Territory||State Amphibian||Scientific Name||Year|
|1||Alabama||Red Hills salamander||Phaeognathus hubrichti||2000|
|2||Arizona||Arizona tree frog||Hyla eximia||1986|
|3||California||California red-legged frog||Rana draytonii||2014|
|4||Colorado||Western tiger salamander||Ambystoma mavortium||2012|
|5||Georgia||American green tree frog||Hyla cinerea||2005|
|6||Idaho||Idaho giant salamander||Dicamptodon aterrimus||2015|
|7||Illinois||Eastern tiger salamander||Ambystoma tigrinum||2005|
|8||Iowa||American bullfrog||Rana catesbeiana||Unofficial|
|9||Kansas||Barred tiger salamander||Ambystoma mavortium||2005|
|10||Louisiana||American green tree frog||Hyla cinerea||1993|
|11||Minnesota||Northern leopard frog||Rana pipiens||Proposed in 1999|
|12||Missouri||American bullfrog||Rana catesbeiana||2005|
|13||New Hampshire||Red-spotted newt||Notophthalmus viridescens||1985|
|14||New Mexico||New Mexico spadefoot toad||Spea multiplicata||2003|
|15||New York||Wood frog||Lithobates sylvaticus||Proposed in 2015|
|16||North Carolina (state frog)||Pine barrens tree frog||Hyla andersonii||2013|
|17||North Carolina (state salamander)||Marbled salamander||Ambystoma opacum||2013|
|18||Ohio (state amphibian)||Spotted salamander||Ambystoma maculatum||2010|
|19||Ohio (state frog)||American bullfrog||Rana catesbeiana||2010|
|20||Oklahoma||American bullfrog||Rana catesbeiana||1997|
|21||Puerto Rico||Common coquí||Eleutherodactylus coqui||Unofficial|
|22||South Carolina||Spotted salamander||Ambystoma maculatum||1999|
|23||Tennessee||Tennessee cave salamander||Gyrinophilus palleucus||1995|
|24||Texas||Texas toad||Bufo speciosus||2009|
|25||Vermont||Northern leopard frog||Rana pipiens||1998|
|26||Washington||Pacific tree frog||Pseudacris regilla||2007|
About the Author
Victor Kiprop is a writer from Kenya. When he's not writing he spends time watching soccer and documentaries, visiting friends, or working in the farm.
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