Rana cascadae


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Rana cascadae
Species Authority: Slater, 1939
Common Name/s:
English Cascades Frog

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Assessor/s: Geoffrey Hammerson, Christopher Pearl
Reviewer/s: Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is probably in significant decline (but probably at a rate of less than 30% over ten years) because of a variety of threats, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.
1996 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs in the Cascade Mountains from northern Washington south to northern California, USA. Populations isolated from the main Cascade Mountains complex occur in the Olympic Mountains, Washington; Mount Shasta and Lassen Peak area, California; and the Trinity Mountains, California (Stebbins 1985b; Nussbaum, Brodie and Storm 1983; Pearl and Adams 2005). Its range is generally between 665 and 2,450m asl, although some Washington populations might occur at lower altitudes. Its prehistoric range might have included much lower altitudes (Leonard et al. 1993).
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Washington State, hundreds of populations have been identified, but some of these are likely to be no longer extant, and others might be continuous with adjacent populations (Dvornich, McAllister and Aubry 1997). This species is very rare and possibly extirpated from the Mount Lassen area, California (Fellers and Drost 1993). However, a population persists at Trinity Alps, California (Bury 1973a; Jennings and Hayes 1994). Some declines might have occurred in the Oregon Cascades (Olson 2001), but there have been no declines documented in Olympic (Adams, Schindler and Bury 2001) and Mount Rainier National Parks in Washington State.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits wet mountain meadows, sphagnum bogs, ponds, lakes, and streams, in open coniferous forests. It hibernates in mud at the bottom of ponds and in spring-water saturated ground up to at least 75m from ponds (Briggs 1987). It prefers quiet ponds for breeding and usually lays eggs in shallow open water. Non-breeding habitats are often more than 100m from breeding sites, sometimes substantially more. Non-breeding habitats can be streams in lower altitudes. It is not clear how adaptable this species is to habitat degradation.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Observed declines in Lassen Volcanic National Park are apparently due to a combination of local factors, including (1) the presence of non-native predatory fish that have restricted available habitat and limited dispersal of frogs; (2) gradual loss of open meadows and associated aquatic habitats; and (3) loss of breeding habitat due to a five-year drought (Fellers and Drost 1993). Pesticide drift via prevailing winds might also have contributed to losses in California (Davidson, Shaffer and Jennings 2002). Introduced fish are implicated as limiting distribution in montane areas (Hayes and Jennings 1986; Jennings and Hayes 1994; Adams, Schindler and Bury 2001). UV radiation shows negative effects in experimental settings, but effects at landscape scale are unclear (Adams, Schindler and Bury 2001; Palen et al. 2002). Eggs are highly susceptible to the pathogenic fungus Saprolegnia ferax, which might be introduced during fish stocking (Kiesecker and Blaustein 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Some populations are within protected national park and wilderness areas in Oregon (such as Crater Lake National Park, and the Three Sisters wilderness area), Washington (Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks), and California (Mount Lassen and Trinity Alps). However, factors such as pesticide drift, UV radiation, and fish introductions are prominent threats even in montane protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Adams, M.J., Schindler, D.E. and Bury, R.B. 2001. Association of amphibians with attenuation of ultraviolet-B radiation in montane ponds. Oecologia: 519-525.

Altig, R. and Dumas, P.C. 1971. Rana cascadae. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles: 105.1-105.2.

Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York.

Blackburn, L., Nanjappa, P. and Lannoo, M.J. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.

Blaustein, A.R., Beatty, J.J., Olson, D.H. and Storm, R.M. 1995. The biology of amphibians and reptiles in old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest. General Technical Report. PNW-GTR-337. PacificNorthwest Research Station, US Forest Service, Portland, Oregon.

Blaustein, A.R., Hoffman, P.D., Hokit, D.G., Kiesecker, J.M., Walls, S.C. and Hays, J.B. 1994. UV repair and resistance to solar UV-B in amphibian eggs: a link to population declines. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia: 1791-1795.

Briggs, J.L. and Storm, R.M. 1970. Growth and population structure of the Cascade frog Rana cascadae Slater. Herpetologica: 283-300.

Briggs Sr, J.L. 1987. Breeding biology of the Cascade frog, Rana cascadae, with comparisons to R. aurora and R. pretiosa. Copeia: 241-245.

Bury, R.B. 1973. The cascade frog, Rana cascadae, in the north Coast Range of California. Northwest Science: 228-229.

Davidson, C., Shaffer, H.B. and Jennings, M.R. 2002. Spatial tests of the pesticide drift, habitat destruction, UB-B, and climate-change hypotheses for California amphibian declines. Conservation Biology: 1588-1601.

Dvornich, K.M., McAllister, K.R. and Aubry, K.B. 1997. Amphibians and reptiles of Washington State: Location data and predicted distributions, Vol. 2. In: Cassidy, K.M., Grue, C.E., Smith, M.R. and Dvornich, K.M. (eds), Washington State Gap Analysis - Final Report, Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Fellers, G.M. and Drost, C.A. 1993. Disappearance of the Cascades frog Rana cascadae at the southern end of its range, California, USA. Biological Conservation: 177-181.

Fite, K.V., Blaustein, A., Bengston, L. and Hewitt, H.E. 1998. Evidence of retinal light damage in Rana cascadae: a declining amphibian species. Copeia: 906-914.

Frost, D.R. 1985. Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Allen Press and the Association of Systematic Collections, Lawrence, Kansas.

Green, D.M. 1986. Systematics and evolution of western North American frogs allied to Rana aurora and Rana boylii: electrophoretic evidence. Systematic Zoology: 283-296.

Green, D.M. 1986. Systematics and evolution of western North American frogs allied to Rana aurora and Rana boylii: karyological evidence. Systematic Zoology: 273-282.

Hayes, M.P. and Jennings, M.R. 1986. Decline of ranid frog species in western North America: are bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) responsible? Journal of Herpetology: 490-509.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 23 November 2004.

Jennings, M.R. and Hayes, M.P. 1994. Amphibian and reptile species of special concern in California. Final Report submitted to the California Department of Fish and Game, Inland Fisheries Division. Contract No. 8023.

Kiesecker, J.M. and Blaustein, A.R. 1997. Influences of egg laying behavior on pathogenic infection of amphibian eggs. Conservation Biology: 214-220.

Leonard, W.P., Brown, H.A., Jones, L.L.C., McAllister, K.R. and Storm, R.M. 1993. Amphibians of Washington and Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle, Washington.

Macey, J.R., Strasburg, J.L., Brisson, J.A., Vredenburg, V.T., Jennings, M. and Larson, A. 2001. Molecular phylogenetics of western North American frogs of the Rana boylii species group. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution: 131-143.

Nussbaum, R.A., Brodie, Jr., E.D. and Storm, R.M. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA.

Olson, D.H. 2001. Ecology and management of montane amphibians of the U.S. Pacific Northwest Biota: 51-74.

Palen, W.J., Schindler, D.E., Adams, M.J., Pearl, C.A., Bury, R.B. and Diamond, S.A. 2002. Optical characteristics of natural waters protect amphibians from UV-B in the U.S. Ecology: 2951-2957.

Pearl, C.A. and Adams, M.J. 2005. Rana cascadae, Cascades frog. In: Lannoo, M.J. (ed.), Status and Conservation of U.S. Amphibians. Volume 2: Species Accounts, University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

Stebbins, R.C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Sype, W.E. 1975. Breeding habits, embryonic thermal requirements and embryonic and larval developments of the Cascade frog, Rana cascadae Slater. Ph.D. Thesis, pp. 113 pp. Oregon State University, Corvallis.

Citation: Geoffrey Hammerson, Christopher Pearl 2004. Rana cascadae. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 16 April 2014.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided