Barking Frog
Hylactophryne augusti

Description:  These are large (up to 4"), common frogs that almost everyone has heard but that almost no one has seen.  They are grayish to reddish brown marked with irregular darker-colored blotches.  They are capable of color changes anywhere in between the two colors pictured here.  Juveniles are marked with a distinct white band around the middle of their bodies, with a blackish head and rump. They have fold of skin on the backs of their heads, and a large, disc-shaped fold on their bellies.  Their call from a distance sounds like the barking of a dog, while up close it sounds like a whirring "chuck".  Most people think that this sound is made by some sort of "barking lizard".  They do not come to water to breed, laying eggs that develop directly into small froglets.  Their entire lives are spent in rock crevices, except on rainy nights when they come out to feed and move from crevice to crevice.


Habitat:  This species occurs primarily in rocky limestone canyons.  It also is known to occur in gypsum flats in New Mexico, and recently it has been located in prairie dog towns at two localities in the Trans-Pecos.  In our area, it occurs in limestone crevices and caves.

Distribution:  This species occurs in the southern portion of the Texas Hill Country, from San Antonio westward to the vicinity of Del Rio, with a few isolated populations to the west and northwest.  It is found throughout the Nueces Canyon in rocky areas.

Abundance:  fairly common in our area but rarely seen

Conservation Status:  common where they occur and their status is secure.

Comments:  Most inhabitants of the area are familiar with the call of this species, but think of it as a "barking lizard". 

Taxonomically, this frog has recently been shifted from genus to genus, starting in Hylactophryne, then moved to the genus Eleutherodactylus, and currently recognized as a member of the genus Craugaster.  Becuase Hylactophryne has been used the longest, we chose to retain the more familiar scientific name.