The Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa) is a highly aquatic species adapted to living in warm water, a life history unique among Pacific Northwest amphibians. This lifestyle makes Oregon spotted frogs particularly vulnerable to threats from invasive, predatory warm water species introduced to the region. The latter include the American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) and various spiny-rayed pan fishes (basses, sunfishes). An aquatic lifestyle and a habit of laying eggs in shallow water also make Oregon spotted frogs vulnerable to changes in aquatic habitat. Human-altered aquatic habitat also often favors warm-water predators, so distinguishing the effects of habitat change from those of these predators is often difficult. Invasive exotic plants such as reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) and yellow flag (Iris decorum) are also thought to impact Oregon spotted frogs in ways that remain poorly understood. Both these plants regularly grow in dense thickets that make unsuitable egg-laying habitat and may impede frog movements. Historically occurring from southwestern British Columbia to northeastern California, the frogs are thought to be extirpated from California, the Willamette Valley of Oregon, and most of the Puget Trough. The frogs are not listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, though they are a candidate species. Today, only 40-odd populations remain across their historic range, a number far fewer than the already federally protected California red-legged frog.
Description above courtesy of Amy Yahnke.
Photo courtesy Andy O'Connor
The Oregon Spotted Frog ranked 5th in the list of America's Top 10 Most Threatened Frogs!
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