Columbia Spotted Frog: Rana luteiventris

Common name: Columbia Spotted Frog
Scientific name: (Rana luteiventris)
Classification name: True Frog

Description: The Spotted Frog is a large brown true frog with ill defined spots which may have light centres. It has dorsolateral ridges and a dark mask with a light stripe on the upper jaw. Its toes are fully webbed and the eyes are slightly upturned. The tympanum is prominent. The underside may be yellow, orange or red with dark mottling on the throat. Maximum adult size is 10 cm. The two species of Spotted Frogs are very similar and very closely related. It has only recently be recognized that they are two different species. The Columbia Spotted Frog differs from the Oregon Spotted Frog in having a larger head. In Canada, Columbia Spotted Frogs do not have mottling at the throat although they do in the United States.

Call The call is a series of short, rapid grunts which build in intensity. The entire call may last up to ten seconds. It is not known if the call differs between the two species.

Confusing Species: The Spotted Frogs may be confused with Red-legged Frogs which differ in having incomplete webbing on the toes and not having upturned eyes. Red-legged Frogs are always yellow beneath with red wash on the underside of the legs and the belly. Leopard Frogs have much more distinct dark spots with light rings around them. The other true frogs found within its range do not have spots.

Distributions: In Canada, the Columbia Spotted Frog is found in mountainous parts of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia as far north as Carcross in Yukon Territory. The range extends south into the northwestern United States.

Habitat: Spotted Frogs are found in permanent water in alpine and subalpine areas with mixed coniferous or subalpine forests.

Reproduction: Breeding occurs early in spring and egg masses are laid communally with each consisting of 700-1,500 eggs. They hatch in about four days. Larvae may transform by the end of summer or overwinter as tadpoles and transform the following year. They may take up to six years to reach maturity.

Natural History: Spotted Frogs are primarily aquatic and when frightened will swim to the bottom and remain still. Differences in natural history between the two species have not been explored.

Conservation Concerns: The Columbia Spotted Frog has declined in Alberta as a result of urbanization. There is no evidence of decline in British Columbia.