What Is The Missouri State Amphibian?

A North American bullfrog.
A North American bullfrog.

Missouri is the eighteenth most populous American state that is in the Midwestern region of the United States. The state is named after the Missouri River which flows through the state of Missouri to River Mississippi. Missouri has numerous nicknames like the Lead State and the Cave State, but the official nickname is the "Show-Me State’". Missouri has various official state symbols include the state bird (Bluebird), animal (Missouri Mule), and flower (Hawthorn) among others. The official Missouri state amphibian is the American Bullfrog.

The Missouri State Amphibian

The state of Missouri made the Lithobates catesbelanus (the American bullfrog) the official state amphibian in 2005. The Bullfrog is indigenous to North America and can be found in every part of Missouri. A prolific and versatile bullfrog is a crucial part of the state’s ecology. These frogs are present all year long, and they can be found burrowed in the mud when hibernating during winter.

When Did Missouri Adopt The Official State Amphibian?

The Chinn Elementary School’s fourth graders are responsible for the selection of the official Missouri state amphibian. The students were supported by Kansas City’s representative Susan Philips who sponsored the House Bill No-33 that proposed the American Bullfrog as the official state amphibian. The bill was approved by both the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives, and Governor Blunt signed it into law in 2005. The law took effect on August 28, 2005.

The American Bullfrog

The dorsal part of the American bullfrog is olive-green either with grayish-brown bands or plain. The male bullfrogs have yellow throats. They have long hind legs and sturdy short front legs. They have tiny teeth which are quite helpful when grasping prey. The bullfrog’s front toes are not webbed while the hind toes are webbed except for the fourth toe. The male bullfrogs are usually smaller than females. These frogs can attain a maximum length of about 6inches from vent to snout. A mature bullfrog weighs about 1.1lb. The bullfrogs mature faster during the first eight months of their lives with their weight growing from 0.18oz to 6.17oz.

Habitat And Behavior

The male bullfrogs have a loud guttural bellow that can be heard from a distance giving the predator an impression of a big animal. The male also uses their loud voice to attract females. Male frogs tend to aggregate together in groups known as choruses. The bullfrogs demonstrate numerous types of aggression to establish dominance in the group. The territorial male bullfrogs have an inflated posture while the others stay underwater with the only their heads showing. The bullfrogs can be found near various water sources like rivers, ponds, and lakes.

Feeding Habits

The bullfrogs are opportunistic, voracious and ambush predators that feed on all the small animals which they can defeat and swallow. Some of these little animals include bats, birds, crayfish, other amphibians, small rodents and various insects. The bullfrog has a unique diet as compared to other frogs found in North America that is made up of aquatic animals. Bullfrogs can capture bigger prey using its powerful jaws immediately after the first tongue attack.


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