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The wood frog (Rana sylvatica): a technical conservation assessment

January 1, 2005

Overall, the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) is ranked G5, secure through most of its range (NatureServe Explorer 2002). However, it is more vulnerable in some states within the USDA Forest Service Region 2: S3 (vulnerable) in Colorado, S2 (imperiled) in Wyoming, and S1 (critically imperiled in South Dakota (NatureServe Explorer 2002); there are no records for wood frogs in Kansas or Nebraska. Primary threats to wood frog populations are habitat fragmentation (loss of area, edge effects, and isolation) and habitat loss due to anthropogenic causes (e.g., wetland draining, grazing) and natural changes as habitat succession occurs.

Wood frogs are most conspicuous at breeding sites early in the spring, when snow and ice are often still present at pond margins. They tolerate frezzing and hibernate terrestrially in shallow depressions, under leaf litter, grasses, logs, or rocks (Bagdonas 1968, Bellis 1961a); there are no reports of aquatic hibernation for this species (Licht 1991, Pinder et al. 1992). Wood frogs require semi-permanent and temporary pools of natural origin and adjacent wet meadows, and landscape alterations that shorten the hydroperiod of ponds can result in catastrophic tadpole mortality. Plant communities utilized by wood frogs in the Rocky Mountains are hydric to mesic and include sedge and grass meadows, willow hummocks, aspen groves, lodgepole pine forests, and woodlands with leaf litter and/or herbaceous understory (Maslin 1947, Bellis 1961a, Roberts and Lewin 1979, Haynes and Aird 1981). Wood frogs are likely to disperse into surrounding marsh and woodlands soon after oviposition (Heatwole 1961, Haynes and Aird 1981). In the arly fall, wood frogs begin to seek hibernacula at or just below the ground surface, generally in upland forest habitat (Regosin et al. 2003). Licht (1991) demonstrated shelter-seeking behavior at 1.5 [degrees] C. Once they have concealed themselves for hibernation, wood frogs are very difficult to detecta?|

Publication Year 2005
Title The wood frog (Rana sylvatica): a technical conservation assessment
Authors E. Muths, S. Rittmann, J. Irwin, D. Keinath, R. Scherer
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Report
Index ID 96256
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center