Ohio Frog and Toad Calling Survey

Pickerel Frog

(Rana palustris)

Distribution of the Pickerel Frog in Ohio.

An adult Pickerel Frog.

Species Description:   The Pickerel Frog's snout-vent length ranges from 4.4 to 7.5 cm (1 3/4 to 3 inches).  The ground color on the back is tan, light brown, or olive green and the belly is white.  Two rows of dark brown or black, squarish spots extend down the back between the prominent dorsolateral folds.  The folds continue from behind the eyes to the groin.  Additional spots occur outside the dorsolateral folds.  A bright orange or yellow wash is exposed on the inside of the thighs and sides of the belly when the legs are extended.  Males have paired vocal sacs.
Habitat: Pickerel Frogs utilize the margins of clear, cool streams, woodland springs and seeps, fens, and wet meadows.  
Reproductive Activity: The breeding season begins in late March or early April and lasts into May.  The call is a long, low snore. 
Ohio Distribution: Pickerel Frogs are found throughout the eastern half of Ohio.  Populations that occur in the Till Plains appear to be associated with fens and their drainage systems.  Walker (1946) suggested that more intensive collecting would probably extend this speciesí distribution in Ohio to include the northwestern counties.  Additional localities within the known range have been added but no significant range extensions have occurred.  Distribution maps by other authors (Conant and Collins, 1998; Harding, 1997) illustrate this species as occurring in northwest Ohio even though no vouchers have been collected.  Extensive field efforts to document them in that portion of the state have yielded no distribution records.
Status: Walker (1946) reported this frog as common in the Allegheny Plateau where it continues to be abundant.  This species is not as abundant in the Till Plains. 
Photographic Recommendations: Positive identification requires that photographs clearly show the shape of the spots between the dorsolateral folds.  A photograph of the yellow flash colors on the groin and extended thigh are equally important diagnostic characteristics.

Last modified:
Friday, April 01, 2005

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