AmphibiaWeb - Rana palustris


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Rana palustris LeConte, 1825
Pickerel Frog
Subgenus: Pantherana
family: Ranidae
genus: Rana
Taxonomic Notes: This species was placed in the genus Lithobates by Frost et al. (2006). However, Yuan et al. (2016, Systematic Biology, doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syw055) showed that this action created problems of paraphyly in other genera. Yuan et al. (2016) recognized subgenera within Rana for the major traditional species groups, with Lithobates used as the subgenus for the Rana palmipes group. AmphibiaWeb recommends the optional use of these subgenera to refer to these major species groups, with names written as Rana (Aquarana) catesbeiana, for example.

© 2007 Twan Leenders (1 of 50)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (89 records).

This medium-sized frog usually has a snout-vent length between 60 and 70 mm. It is smooth-skinned, with dark brown or black dorsal blotches which are often arranged in two regular rows and which usually are squarish or rectangular. It is gray or tan in color, with a bright yellow wash on the concealed surfaces of the hind legs and belly. The glandular, yellowish dorsolateral fold is roughly half the width of a dorsal blotch in large-spotted individuals and more than half in small-spotted individuals.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Canada, United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia

Canadian province distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (89 records).
The range of R. palustris extends from the Gaspe Peninsula to the west end of Lake Superior, southward to the Gulf Coast of east Texas. A relict population occurs on the Coastal PLain of Alabama and Georgia. It is absent from the predominantly prairie regions of Illinois and adjacent states.
North of the coastal plain boundary, it occurs in habitats where the water is cool and clear. On the Coastal Plain, it occurs in floodplain swamp habitat, while in karst topography, it is often confined to the vicinity of the cave mouth.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Females produce 2,000-3,000 eggs in several firm, globular sumerged egg masses. The egg is brown and yellow, averages 1.7 mm in diameter, and has two envelopes. The tadpole has an olive green colour, fine black and yellow spots, and a darker tail with yellow spots coalesced into larger spots.


Fenolio, D.B., Graening, G.O., Stout, J.F. (2005). ''Seasonal movement pattern of pickerel frogs (Rana palustris) in an Ozark cave and ecological implications supported by stable isotope evidence.'' The Southern Naturalist, 50(3), 385-389.

Schaaf, R. T., Jr., and Smith, P. W. (1963). ''Rana palustris (LeConte). Pickerel Frog.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 117.1-117.3.

Originally submitted by: Franziska Sandmeier (first posted 2001-02-21)
Edited by: Shakil Huq, Michelle S. Koo (2023-10-23)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2023 Rana palustris: Pickerel Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Apr 18, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Apr 2024.

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