Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

It 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.

  • 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.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec to Wisconsin, and south to southern South Carolina, northern Georgia, southern Mississippi, and southeastern Texas (Conant and Collins 1991). This frog is absent from most of the far southeastern United States (e.g., Florida, southern Georgia) and the prairie region of Illinois and vicinity.

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Range Description

This species can be found in Eastern North America from the Gaspe Peninsula to Wisconsin, south to southern South Carolina, northern Georgia, southern Mississippi, and southeastern Texas (Conant and Collins 1991). It is absent from most of far southeastern U.S. and the prairie region of Illinois and vicinity.
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Geographic Range

The Pickerel frog ranges from the Canadian Maritime Provinces south to the Carolinas and then west to southeast Minnesota and eastern Texas. However, there are many gaps in the distribution of these frogs, especially in the southern parts of Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana (Conant and Collins 1998).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Distribution and Habitat

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.

  • 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.
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Geographic Range

The Pickerel frog ranges from the Canadian Maritime Provinces south to the Carolinas and then west to southeast Minnesota and eastern Texas. However, there are many gaps in the distribution of these frogs, especially in the southern parts of Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana (Conant and Collins 1998).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The Pickerel frog is a relatively large frog that is often confused with the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens). However, the Pickerel frog has chocolate-brown spots arranged in two rows between the dorsolateral folds while the Leopard frog's spots are more irregular and scattered. They can be distinguished by the bright yellow or yellow-orange color on the inside concealed surface of the thigh. Leopard frogs are white in the same area. These frogs range in size from 45 to 75 millimeters as adults. Females are usually larger than males. Male Pickerel frogs have paired vocal sacs, stout forearms and swollen thumbs. These frogs produce toxic skin secretions that are irritating to humans but can be fatal to other small animals, especially other amphibians. Many frog-eating snakes avoid these frogs for this reason (Matson 1999).

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Physical Description

The Pickerel frog is a relatively large frog that is often confused with the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens). However, the Pickerel frog has chocolate-brown spots arranged in two rows between the dorsolateral folds while the Leopard frog's spots are more irregular and scattered. They can be distinguished by the bright yellow or yellow-orange color on the inside concealed surface of the thigh. Leopard frogs are white in the same area. These frogs range in size from 45 to 75 millimeters as adults. Females are usually larger than males. Male Pickerel frogs have paired vocal sacs, stout forearms and swollen thumbs. These frogs produce toxic skin secretions that are irritating to humans but can be fatal to other small animals, especially other amphibians. Many frog-eating snakes avoid these frogs for this reason (Matson 1999).

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Size

Length: 9 cm

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Type Information

Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 8345
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Locality: Kinston, Lenoir, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 91698
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1933
Locality: Lake Waccamaw, Columbus, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 91697
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1933
Locality: Lake Waccamaw, Columbus, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150731
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Maxton, Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150730
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Maxton, Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150732
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1948
Locality: Maxton, Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50893
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50905
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50899
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50896
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50895
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50894
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50898
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50897
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50906
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50900
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50901
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50902
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50903
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 50904
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1913
Locality: Edenton, Chowan, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150545
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150544
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150543
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150542
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150541
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150540
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150539
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150538
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150537
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150536
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Holotype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150535
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150534
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150533
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150532
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150531
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1961
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150547
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1963
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Paratype for Lithobates palustris
Catalog Number: USNM 150546
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1963
Locality: Maxton, Hayes Pond (= Maxton Pond), Robeson, North Carolina, United States, North America
  • Paratype: Hardy, J. D. 1964. Chesapeake Science. 5 (1-2): 91, figures 2, 4 and 5.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Pickerel frogs occur in various freshwater aquatic and wetland habitats in wooded regions, ranging from the vicinity of cool clear streams and ponds in the north to warm, turbid swamps in parts of the south. In summer, they commonly range into fields and woods away from ponds or streams. In winter, they may be hidden at the bottom of a water body or secluded in wet caves.Breeding sites include standing water of woodland ponds, bog ponds, impoundments, stream pools, sloughs, and flooded ditches, often but not always in sites with few or no fishes (e.g., Holomuzki 1995). Males call while floating or submerged. Females attach egg masses to submerged vegetation.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
There are various habitats in wooded regions; vicinity of cool clear streams and ponds in north; warm, turbid swamps in parts of south. Disperses from water's edge into fields and woods in some regions. When inactive, hides at bottom of water body or in caves in some areas. Eggs and larvae develop in standing water of woodland ponds, bog ponds, stream pools, sloughs, and flooded ditches; often in sites with few or no fishes (e.g., Holomuzki 1995).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Pickerel frogs commonly inhabit cool, wooded streams, seeps and springs although they are also found in many other habitats. In the South, it can also be found in the relatively warm, turbid waters of the Coastal Plain and floodplain swamps. These frogs tend to wander far into grassy fields or into weed-covered areas in the summer (Conant and Collins 1998).

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

Aquatic Biomes: rivers and streams

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Pickerel frogs commonly inhabit cool, wooded streams, seeps and springs although they are also found in many other habitats. In the South, it can also be found in the relatively warm, turbid waters of the Coastal Plain and floodplain swamps. These frogs tend to wander far into grassy fields or into weed-covered areas in the summer (Conant and Collins 1998).

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

Aquatic Biomes: rivers and streams

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Metamorphosed frogs eat various small invertebrates, terrestrial and aquatic. Larvae probably eat mostly suspended matter, algae, plant tissue, organic debris, and minute organisms in water.

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Food Habits

These frogs are carnivorous and their diet consists mostly of small insects and other invertebrates. However, as tadpoles, these frogs are herbivorous (Conant and Collins 1998).

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Food Habits

These frogs are carnivorous and their diet consists mostly of small insects and other invertebrates. However, as tadpoles, these frogs are herbivorous (Conant and Collins 1998).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range.

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Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 100,000.

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General Ecology

Pickerel frogs have a distinctive odor and bright colors that are thought to advertise their distasteful skin secretions, and some predators such as shrews, certain fishes, and common garter snakes may reject them as food. Larvae are palatable to some fishes (green sunfish), less palatable to others (longear sunfish) (Holomuzki 1995).

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: n the northern part of the range, pickerel frogs are mostly inactive during the coldest winter months.

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Reproduction

Breeding occurs in winter in the far south, in spring (mostly April-May) in the north. Larvae hatch in several days or up to three weeks after laying, metamorphose usually within 2-3 months, in summer (often July-August in the north).

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Pickerel frogs breed in late March to early May. Males have low, snore-like calls to attract females. After fertilization, females lay spherical egg masses attached to tree branches in permanent or temporary ponds. These masses may contain from 700 to 3000 eggs. Each egg has an average diameter of 1.6 millimeters when laid. After the eggs hatch, it takes around 87 to 95 days for the tadpoles to transform into small frogs and leave the water. It requires an additional two years before these frogs reach sexual maturity and are able to reproduce (Matson 1999).

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Pickerel frogs breed in late March to early May. Males have low, snore-like calls to attract females. After fertilization, females lay spherical egg masses attached to tree branches in permanent or temporary ponds. These masses may contain from 700 to 3000 eggs. Each egg has an average diameter of 1.6 millimeters when laid. After the eggs hatch, it takes around 87 to 95 days for the tadpoles to transform into small frogs and leave the water. It requires an additional two years before these frogs reach sexual maturity and are able to reproduce (Matson 1999).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rana palustris

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Geoffrey Hammerson

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
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The population of Pickerel frogs is listed as stable, and there are no special restrictions on them. However, in many areas populations are declining due to habitat changes.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: no special status

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

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The population of Pickerel frogs is listed as stable, and there are no special restrictions on them. However, in many areas populations are declining due to habitat changes.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Population trend is unknown but probably stable to slightly declining.

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, likely less than 25% decline in in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences. In some areas, habitat losses have been offset by habitat augmentation (e.g., creation of breeding sites through damming).

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Population

Population
There are thousands of populations; it is abundant, and stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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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.

  • 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.
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats. Local populations are no doubt impacted by clear-cutting and urbanization.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no conservation measures needed. It occurs in many protected areas.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

This species does not seem to adversely affect humans at all.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

These frogs are not of great economic importance to humans. They are not caught as game and are not kept as pets due to their skin secretions. They are occasionally used as fishing bait for anglers.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

This species does not seem to adversely affect humans at all.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

These frogs are not of great economic importance to humans. They are not caught as game and are not kept as pets due to their skin secretions. They are occasionally used as fishing bait for anglers.

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Wikipedia

Pickerel frog

The pickerel frog (Rana palustris)[2][3][4] is a small North American frog, characterized by the appearance of seemingly "hand-drawn" squares on its dorsal surface.

Distinguishing features[edit]

The distinctive rectangular spots of the pickerel frog may blend together to form a long rectangle along the back. All leopard frogs have circular spots. In addition, pickerel frogs have prominent dorsolateral ridges that are unbroken. Another important distinguishing mark is the orange or yellow flash pattern found on the inner surface of the hind legs of pickerel frogs. The frog must be picked up to examine this, as the legs cover the coloration otherwise. The plains leopard frog (Lithobates blairi) exhibits this coloration as well, but the dorsolateral ridges are interrupted and inset medially in that species.

Range[edit]

The pickerel frog ranges in the west from much of Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, eastern Iowa, through Missouri and down to eastern Texas. To the east they extend through northern Louisiana, most of Mississippi, northern Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina to the coast. Their northern range extends into Canada in the southern reaches of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The range is spotty through the midwestern states and a field guide should be obtained for the specifics on ranges in a particular area.

Other[edit]

The skin secretions of a stressed pickerel frog are known to be toxic to other frogs, as many a novice frog catcher has found when he finds only the pickerel frog still alive in his bucket. These secretions can also be moderately irritating if they come in contact with the eyes, mucous membranes, or broken skin.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Geoffrey Hammerson (2004) Lithobates palustris. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
  2. ^ David M. Hillis (2007). "Constraints in naming parts of the Tree of Life". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42 (2): 331–338. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.08.001. PMID 16997582. 
  3. ^ David M. Hillis & Thomas P. Wilcox (2005). "Phylogeny of the New World true frogs (Rana)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34 (2): 299–314. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.10.007. PMID 15619443. 
  4. ^ Pauly, Greg B., Hillis, David M. & Cannatella, David C. (2009). "Taxonomic freedom and the role of official lists of species names". Herpetologica 65 (2): 115–128. doi:10.1655/08-031R1.1. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Arnold, K. (2000) Rana palustris (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed September 25, 2007.
  • Redmer, M. and Mierzwa, K.S. (1994). "A review of the distribution and zoogeography of the pickerel frog, Rana palustris, in northern Illinois". Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society 29: 21–30. 
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