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Columbia Spotted Frog - Rana luteiventris

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Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 2


 

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Copyright by Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network
 
General Description
Adults are light to dark brown, gray, or olive green with dark spots (frequently with lighter centers) on the back, sides, and legs. The number of spots and spotting pattern varies. The back and sides are often covered with small bumps. The undersides of the legs are bright red, salmon or orange; this bright color may extend up to the chin or be replaced by a light, mottled gray on the chin, chest, and/or belly. Adult body length is 2 to 4 inches. Eggs and Tadpoles: Eggs are laid at the water surface in large, globular masses of 150 to 500. Tadpoles are dark green with gold flecking above and iridescent bronze below. They may reach 3 inches in length; their eyes are located on the top of the head.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The bright pigment on the undersides of the legs distinguishes adults of this species from all other frogs in Montana. Younger individuals lacking bright legs are difficult to distinguish from Wood and Northern Leopard Frogs.

General Distribution
Montana Range



Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 6274

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Columbia Spotted Frogs are regularly found at water's edge in or near forest openings. Wetlands at or near treeline are also used, but populations are uncommon in large, open intermountain valleys. Breeding takes place in lakes, ponds (temporary and permanent), springs, and occasionally backwaters or beaver ponds in streams. All the egg masses in a particular pond are often found in the same location at the margin of the pond. Young and adult Columbia Spotted Frogs often disperse into marsh and forest habitats, but are not usually found far from open water. Reproduction mainly in ponds, occasionally in springs, shallow streams, or puddles (Turner 1958). Found on grassy/swampy banks of mountain water bodies (Black 1969, Franz 1971), although may avoid dense/tall grass (Miller 1978). Feed mainly in riparian habitat, occasionally in bordering meadow/woods. Juveniles forage farther from water (Miller 1978).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at bmaxell@mt.gov or (406) 444-3655.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2001.  The wild mammals of Montana.  Special Publication No. 12.  Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists.  278 p.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Larvae: vegetation (Callitriche and Spirogyra) in Yellowstone (Turner 1959). Adults: mainly ground insects in western MT: coleoptera 35%, hymenoptera 22%, arachnid 15%; others less than 10% (Miller 1978). Based mainly on availability (Whitaker et al. 1983, Turner 1959, Moore and Strickland 1955).

Ecology
Closely restricted to water (Black 1969, Carpenter 1953). Usually found within 15m of shore (Miller 1978). In Yellowstone, does not reach reproductive maturity until year 4 (male), year 5-6 (female) (Turner 1960).

Reproductive Characteristics
Breed mid-April to early June (Turner 1958, Schaub and Carson 1978). Eggs are in clusters of 300 to 800 and hatch in 12 to 21 days (Turner 1958). Metamorphosis usually occurs about 60 days after hatching (Turner 1958), from late July to freezeup. In permanent pools may not transform until year 2. Females may breed alternate years (Turner 1958). Males occasionally call, but the call is faint; burst of 4 to 30 short crocks at a rate of 3 to 4 per second, with bursts separate by 3 seconds (Turner 1958).

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
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    • Werner, J.K. and T. Plummer. 1995. Amphibian and reptile survey of the Flathead Indian Reservation 1993-1994. Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT. 55 pp.
    • Werner, J.K. and T. Plummer. 1995. Amphibian monitoring program on the Flathead Indian Reservation 1995. Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, MT. 46 p.
    • Werner, J.K., J. Weaselhead, and T. Plummer. 1999. The accuracy of estimating eggs in anuran egg masses using weight or volume measurements. Herpetological Review 30(1): 30-31.
    • Werner, J.K., T. Plummer, and J. Weaselhead. 1998b. The status of amphibians on the Flathead Reservation, Montana. Intermountain Journal of Sciences 4(3-4): 88.
    • Werner, J.K., T. Plummer, and J. Weaslehead. 1998. Amphibians and reptiles of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Intermountain Journal of Sciences 4(1-2): 33-49.
    • Whitaker, J.A., Jr.; S.P. Cross, J.M. Skovlin and C. Maser 1983. Food habits of the spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) from managed sites in Grant County, Oregon. Northwest Science 57(2):147-154.
    • Wicher, C.G. 2000. The effects of mining effluent on amphibian survivorship. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. Carroll College, Helena, MT. 18 p.
    • Wilkinson, T. 1996a. Utah ushers its frogs toward oblivion. High Country News, No. 19: 1, 10-13. May 27, 1996.
    • Wirsing, A.J., J.D. Roth, and D.L. Murray. 2005. Can prey use dietary cues to distinguish predators? A test involving three terrestrial amphibians. Herpetologica 61(2):104-110.
    • Wishard, L.N. 1977. Larval growth in Rana pretiosa: ecological and genetic factors. M.S. Thesis. University of Montana, Missoula, MT. 80 p.
    • Wyrick, A.C. 2004. Demography of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) in the presence or absence of fish in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 118 pp. PhD Dissertation.
    • Yeager, D.C. 1926. Miscellaneous notes. Yellowstone Nature Notes 3(4): 7.
    • Zisook, R., K. Almond, and B. Sharpe. 1996. Amphibian survey of the Birch Creek drainage, Beaverhead County. Wildland Studies Project. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA. 9 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Columbia Spotted Frog — Rana luteiventris.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on July 31, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_AAABH01290.aspx
 
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