Herpetofauna Identification Keys

A dichotomous key helps breakdown the identification process into steps. Each step contains a set of identification markers – choose the option that best fits your animal.

Try the key again if you don't think the species description matches, especially if you were unsure about some of your choices.

Identification Key for Frogs & Toads

Step 1Illustration used with permission from the Royal BC Museum. Green, D.W. and R.W. Campbell. 1984. The Amphibians of British Columbia. British Columbia Provincial Museum, Handbook 45.

  • Pupil of eye vertical when contracted – go to step 2
  • Pupil of eye horizontal when contracted – go to step 3

Step 2

Step 3

  • Parotoid glands and rough warts present, body squat
  • No parotoid glands or warts present, skin smooth or with scattered tubercles – go to step 4

Step 4

  • Conspicuous adhesive toe-pads present, dark eye stripe ending at shoulder
  • Toe-pads absent or inconspicuous – go to step 5

Step 5

  • Body elongated with dark side stripes extending to groin; three dorsal stripes or series of spots also present
  • Dark side and dorsal stripes absent, dorsolateral folds and/or skin fold around ear membrane present – go to step 6

Step 6

  • Large rounded spots with light halos present on a green or brown background, belly white, dorsolateral folds present
  • No large, rounded spots on back – go to step 7

Step 7

  • Colour green or olive green, no dark facial mask present. Adult males with deep yellow throats and ear membranes larger than diameter of eye – go to step 8
  • Colour brown or tan, may have black, irregular spots on back, dark facial mask more or less obvious – go to step 9

Step 8

Step 9

  • Distinct, black facial mask present, no black dorsal spots, white belly, white mid-dorsal stripe may be present
  • Red, orange or yellow colouration underneath, especially in older individuals, dark spots present on back, facial mask present but not intensely dark – go to step 10

Step 10