The Chiricahua leopard frog is a rare native of the Southwest that occurs at several locations in southwestern New Mexico and a few in southeast Arizona. Its status in northern Mexico is unclear. The frog thrives in places with permanent water that is well oxygenated and moderately supplied with organic matter.
The heaviest-bodied leopard frog in New Mexico, the Chiricahua leopard frog is shy and is quick to take to the shelter of deep water when disturbed. Its mating call is a snore-like trill. Like other leopard frogs, it feeds on a variety of insects and other invertebrates.
Although once common prior to widespread habitat loss as a result of water withdrawal for agriculture and industry, accelerated erosion, wetland vegetation degradation, and bullfrog and alien fish introduction, the Chiricahua leopard frog is now suffering a dramatic decline. Additionally, excessive ultra-violet radiation levels stemming from atmospheric ozone damage can elevate egg mortality and is suspected in the worldwide decline of frogs and other amphibians. The Chiricahua leopard frog is a candidate for listing as an endangered species by the federal government.
Thankfully, the Conservancy's Mimbres River Preserve protects one of the largest remaining populations of this species.