University of Wisconsin Press colophon



University of Wisconsin Madison crest that links to main university site

Association of University Presses member logo that links to main AUPresses site



Catalog Archive / Spring 2022

Amphibians and Reptiles of Wisconsin
Edited by Joshua M. Kapfer and Donald J. Brown

“This profusely illustrated compendium is a model for all state and regional guides. In addition to detailed species accounts, it provides field-based insights into how animals interact with natural and anthropogenic habitats, historical perspectives of Wisconsin landscapes, insights into the practice of herpetology, and guidelines for sound management practices. This is a must for professional herpetologists and conservationists and for anyone with an interest in the natural world.”
—Robert Powell, coauthor of the Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America

Amphibians and reptiles represent an essential and interesting component of Wisconsin’s wildlife. Eighteen species of amphibian and thirty-six species of reptile occupy landscapes across the state. They live in aquatic habitats that range from small streams to large lakes, and from open prairies to mature forests on land. These species are vital members of the biological communities in which they occur, acting as important predators, prey, and competitors, while also providing a wide variety of additional ecological functions. However, many amphibians and reptiles have experienced drastic population declines and even local extinctions in Wisconsin due to habitat loss and degradation, overharvesting, the introduction of invasive species, pollution, and other factors. This comprehensive volume, by an expert team of editors and contributors, consolidates the current state of scientific knowledge, aims to expand public knowledge and appreciation of Wisconsin’s natural legacy, and brings out the herpetologist in all of us.

This long-awaited, state-of-the-field synthesis also includes hundreds of color photographs and illustrations, state-level and North American range maps, dichotomous keys, and research and conservation anecdotes that will entertain and inform even the most dedicated nature lover. Amphibians and Reptiles of Wisconsin is set to become a lasting resource and armchair companion for anyone in the Midwest interested in the state’s natural history and amphibian and reptile fauna.


Joshua M. Kapfer is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® and a professor in the department of biological sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater.

Donald J. Brown is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® and a research assistant professor of wildlife resources in the school of natural resources at West Virginia University.




“The amount of information in this book is almost overwhelming. Its thoroughness and broad scope should make it a desirable book for a wide audience.”
—Robert W. Henderson, Milwaukee Public Museum

“[An] impressively comprehensive, expertly illustrated, exceptionally informative, accessibly organized and presented compendium. . . . An absolutely essential and core addition for personal, professional, community, college, and university library Wisconsin Wildlife collections.”
Midwest Book Review

“A fine addition to Wisconsin’s natural history library. . . . It will undoubtedly become the definitive source on Wisconsin herpetofauna. . . . The book is a comprehensive and much needed updated reference on Wisconsin’s amphibians and reptiles, and is a great addition to the cadre of Midwest state field guides/reference books, none of which are this expansive. The editors and all of the contributors should be commended.”
Herpetological Review

“This book will be an essential reference for every herpetologist and conservation biologist. The information provided is useful well beyond Wisconsin and the upper Midwest.”
Ichthyology & Herpetology



Download Cover: color | b/w

Request Review Copy

Request Exam Copy


Table of Contents


Foreword by Michael J. Lannoo
Acronyms and Abbreviations

Systematics and Classification
Some Prominent Figures in Wisconsin Herpetology
Past, Present, and Potential Future Landscapes of Wisconsin, with Emphasis on Amphibian and Reptile Distributions
Amphibians and Reptiles in Wisconsin Plant Communities
Introduction to Conservation and Management of Wisconsin's Amphibians and Reptiles
Identification Keys for Amphibians and Reptiles in Wisconsin
Introduction to Species Accounts

Anura (Frogs and Toads)
Introduction to Anura
Family Bufonidae
American Toad, Anaxyrus americanus
Family Hylidae
Blanchard's Cricket Frog, Acris blanchardi
Cope's Gray Treefrog, Hyla chrysoscelis
Gray Treefrog, Hyla versicolor
Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer
Boreal Chorus Frog, Pseudacris maculata
Family Ranidae
American Bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeianus
Green Frog, Lithobates clamitans
Pickerel Frog, Lithobates palustris
Northern Leopard Frog, Lithobates pipiens
Mink Frog, Lithobates septentrionalis
Wood Frog, Lithobates sylvaticus

Caudata (Salamanders)
Introduction to Caudata
Family Ambystomatidae
Blue-spotted Salamander, Ambystoma laterale
Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum
Eastern Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum
Family Plethodontidae
Four-toed Salamander, Hemidactylium scutatum
Eastern Red-backed Salamander, Plethodon cinereus
Family Proteidae
Mudpuppy, Necturus maculosus
Family Salamandridae
Eastern Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens

Squamata (Lizards and Snakes)
Introduction to Squamata
Family Anguidae
Slender Glass Lizard, Ophisaurus attenuatus
Family Scincidae
Common Five-lined Skink, Plestiodon fasciatus
Prairie Skink, Plestiodon septentrionalis
Family Teiidae
Six-lined Racerunner, Aspidoscelis sexlineatus
Family Colubridae, Subfamily Colubrinae
North American Racer, Coluber constrictor
Eastern Milksnake, Lampropeltis triangulum
Smooth Greensnake, Opheodrys vernalis
Gray Ratsnake, Pantherophis spiloides
Eastern Foxsnake, Pantherophis vulpinus
Gophersnake, Pituophis catenifer
Family Colubridae, Subfamily Dipsadinae
Western Wormsnake, Carphophis vermis
Ring-necked Snake, Diadophis punctatus
Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Heterodon platirhinos
Family Colubridae, Subfamily Natricinae
Common Watersnake, Nerodia sipedon
Queensnake, Regina septemvittata
Dekay's Brownsnake, Storeria dekayi
Red-bellied Snake, Storeria occipitomaculata
Butler's Gartersnake, Thamnophis butleri
Plains Gartersnake, Thamnophis radix
Eastern Ribbonsnake, Thamnophis saurita, Western Ribbonsnake, Thamnophis proximus
Common Gartersnake, Thamnophis sirtalis
Lined Snake, Tropidoclonion lineatum
Family Viperidae
Timber Rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus
Massasauga, Sistrurus catenatus

Snakebite: Envenomation in Wisconsin and the Northern Upper Mississippi River Valley

Testudines (Turtles)
Introduction to Testudines
Family Chelydridae
Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina
Family Emydidae
Painted Turtle, Chrysemys picta
Blanding's Turtle, Emydoidea blandingii
Wood Turtle, Glyptemys insculpta
Northern Map Turtle, Graptemys geographica
Ouachita Map Turtle, Graptemys ouachitensis
False Map Turtle, Graptemys pseudogeographica
Ornate Box Turtle, Terrapene ornata
Family Kinosternidae
Eastern Musk Turtle, Sternotherus odoratus
Family Trionychidae
Smooth Softshell, Apalone mutica
Spiny Softshell, Apalone spinifera

Hypothetical and Enigmatic Species of Wisconsin

Literature Cited
Contributor Biographies
Index by Scientific Name
Index by Common Name
Index by Subject


Of Related Interest

The Geography of Wisconsin: Cover showing an off-kilter photograph of a Wisconsin landscape. The title text is written in orange and white font just below the middle of the page.

The Geography of Wisconsin
John A. Cross and Kazimierz J. Zaniewski

Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams: white cover with various fish, frogs, and dragonflies scattered over the page. The title text is proclaimed in all capps, green font towards the top of the page.

Field Guide to Wisconsin Streams
Plants, Fishes, Invertebrates, Amphibians, and Reptiles
Michael A. Miller, Katie Songer, and Ron Dolen

Amphibians and Reptiles of Wisconsin: cover depicting a photo of spotted salamander atop a pile of wet, autumn leaves at the top of the page, and a photo of a small green snake curled in the sand at the bottom of the page. The two photos are bisected by a black stripe containing the yellow title text.

Larger images

November 2022
LC: 2021041581 QL
1176 pp. 8.5 x 11
570 color illus.

Book icon
Casebound $74.95
ISBN 9780299335205
Shopping cart ADD TO CART
Review Cart