Many of you will be surprised to learn that 27 species of frogs occur in Mississippi. The voices of each species are distinctive and instantly recognizable. Featured are the calls of 28 species and subspecies occurring in Mississippi and, I might add, many hours of pleasant experiences went into the recording of these frog vocalizations over the past 20 years.

Appearing in the background are secondary voices of some species of frogs other than those identified by common names before each species. Some recordings feature individual frogs calling as well as choruses of the same or different species.

These recordings average about one minute in length for each species. The reason for this is because repetition aids in learning to identify the calls of different species. A playback of pre-recorded calls will sometimes provoke responsive calls from some of the shyer species. Occasionally, individuals will respond vociferously. I once called a bullfrog out of a pond, and it jumped into my lap where I sat on the dam playing his voice back on the tape recorder.

Our frogs have a wide range of breeding periods from late December until late fall. Active calling occurs during the breeding periods, usually following rains when enough rain falls to form run-off pools of standing water. Spring peepers, leopard frogs, chorus frogs, crawfish frogs, and pickerel frogs are actively calling and breeding on warmer nights in the winter months when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The eastern spadefoot has a very short breeding period, usually only one night following a torrential rainfall when temperatures are above 60 degrees. The crawfish frogs have short breeding periods in late February or early March. Tree frogs, cricket frogs, toads, the narrow-mouthed toad, the other true frogs are spring, summer and early fall breeders stimulated by heavy rainfall and/or warm temperatures. There is a breeding hiatus during very dry or cold weather.

Frogs call mostly at night and sometimes during daylight following spring and summer rains. You will have to anticipate and search for some species in their particular habitat and range at the proper season, otherwise, you will not find and know them. Their distinctive voices add interest and color to our wetlands and natural surroundings.

Many persons encouraged and helped me prepare this album for publication. I especially thank Bob Jones for aid in locating and assistance in identifying and recording south Mississippi species. Thanks to Glen and Ken Johnson for spotting the hard-to-find dusky crawfish frog and the eastern spadefoot. Terry Vandeventer put me onto the crawfish and pickerel frogs in the gravel pit ponds of western Hinds County. To Erskine Gandy, David Watts with Mississippi Outdoors magazine and Milt Lawrence: I appreciate your help with production, printing and recording the narrative.

My wife, Dorothy, accompanied me on one outing to Tishomingo State Park where we recorded "Lonesome George," the little mountain chorus frog that called only as cars were passing, or when a spotlight was waved over his head, or when spring peepers were chorusing at his roadside pool. He assumed he was safe and secure with numerous peepers calling. Credit is due Paul E. Moler for the use of his recordings of the ornate chorus frog and the river frog recorded by Judith C. Hancock. I want to thank the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and the Missouri Department of Conservation for assistance and allowing the use of their tape recordings as noted in the following species descriptions. And to you who have ears for nature's musicians, I encourage you to learn more about these interesting and beneficial creatures of our Mississippi outdoor heritage.