Rana luteiventris 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Ranidae

Scientific Name: Rana luteiventris
Species Authority: Thompson, 1913
Common Name(s):
English Columbia Spotted Frog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0 (7 July 2014). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: Green et al. (1997) recognized Rana luteiventris as a distinct species from Rana pretiosa.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-08-25
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hobin, L.
Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of sub-populations and localities, and large population size.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known to occur in North America from extreme southeastern Alaska, southwestern Yukon, northern British Columbia, and western Alberta south through Washington east of the Cascades, eastern Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana to Nevada (disjunctive, Mary's, Reese, and Owyhee river systems), southwestern Idaho (disjunctive), Utah (disjunctive, Wasatch Mountains and west desert), and western and north-central (disjunctive) Wyoming (Green et al. 1996, 1997; Stebbins 2003). Disjunctive populations occur on isolated mountains and in arid-land springs. It occurs at elevations from sea level to about 3,000 m asl (Stebbins 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon); United States (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is represented by numerous and widespread sub-populations (Hodge 1976, Nussbaum et al. 1983), though the disjunctive southern sub-populations are limited in number. It is common in many areas in Canada and the Rocky Mountains. Significant declines have occurred in some areas of Utah, Wyoming, Washington, and Oregon. It has possibly declined in Idaho, but apparently numbers are still high (Phillips 1990, Groves pers. comm. 1992). Declines have been reported for disjunctive sub-populations in the Wasatch Front in Utah. The West Desert (Bonneville) sub-population has declined in range and abundance. Recent intensive surveys indicate severe declines in the Great Basin sub-populations. See Federal Register, 7 May 1993, 2 April 1998. Northern sub-populations appear to be stable.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is highly aquatic; rarely found far from permanent quiet water; usually occurs at the grassy/sedgy margins of streams, lakes, ponds, springs, and marshes (Hodge 1976, Licht 1986). Animals may disperse into forest, grassland, and brush land during wet weather. Breeds usually in shallow water in ponds or other quiet waters. See Munger et al. (1998) for quantitative information on habitat in southwestern Idaho.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no records of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Sub-populations in western Utah are limited by scarce habitat (springs) and are potentially threatened by habitat degradation from cattle grazing and agricultural activities. Oil and gas exploration is a increasing threat. Water development could lower water tables and adversely impact spring habitats. Introduced bullfrogs and fishes might have an adverse impact, but the current degree of threat is unknown. Mosquito control agents pose a potential threat. 

Wasatch Front sub-population is facing serious threats from habitat loss and modification, especially water development associated with the Central Utah Project; current and imminent threats include the Provo River Restoration Project and Wasatch County Efficiency Project; wetlands created as mitigation for the Central Utah Project have contributed only minimally to spotted frog reproduction. Additional threats include continued development along the Wasatch Front, water diversions for irrigation, cattle grazing, timber harvesting, and construction of roads and trails. A recent conservation agreement among the state of Utah and other agencies has significantly reduced the level of threat to the Wasatch Front and West Desert sub-populations (Federal Register, 2 April 1998). 

The Great Basin sub-population has been adversely affected by habitat degradation resulting from mining, livestock grazing, road construction, agriculture, and direct predation by bullfrogs and non-native fishes. Not likely to be at risk from present acidification inputs in the Rocky Mountains (Corn and Vertucci 1992). Possibly global climate changes are a factor (Hayes and Jennings 1986). At the embryonic stage, UV-B radiation currently does not seem to be contributing to population declines (Blaustein et al. 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
It is somewhat protected in several federal and state parks and refuges, though management usually ignores this species. A considerable portion of the range of the West Desert population is under management of the US Bureau of Land Management. Wasatch Front population occurs mainly on private land, with some federal ownership along Jordanelle Dam and the Provo River. Great Basin population occurs primarily on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. A conservation agreement for both the Wasatch Front and West Desert populations has been developed by state and federal agencies. Conservation activities implemented for the Least Chub should also benefit the West Desert sub-population.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Marginal season: resident 
3. Shrubland -> 3.4. Shrubland - Temperate
suitability: Marginal season: resident 
4. Grassland -> 4.4. Grassland - Temperate
suitability: Marginal season: resident 
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.9. Wetlands (inland) - Freshwater Springs and Oases
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Energy production & mining -> 3.2. Mining & quarrying
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.8. Abstraction of ground water (unknown use)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.2. Named species (Lithobates catesbeianus)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

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., Hays, J.B, Hoffman, P.D., Chivers, D.P., Kiesecker, J.M., Leonard, W.P., Marco, A., Olson, D.H., Reaser, J.K. and Anthony, R.G. 1999. DNA repair and resistance to UV-B radiation in western spotted frogs. Ecological Applications: 1100-1105.

Blomquist, S.M. and Tull, J.C. 2002. Rana luteiventris: burrow use. Herpetological Review: 131.

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

Bull, E.L. 2000. Comparison of two radio transmitter attachments on Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris). Herpetological Review: 26-28.

Bull, E.L. and Hayes. M.P. 2001. Post-breeding season movements of Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) in northeastern Oregon. Western North American Naturalist: 119-123.

Corn, P.S. and Vertucci, F.A. 1992. Descriptive risk assessment of the effects of acidic deposition on Rocky Mountain amphibians. Journal of Herpetology: 361-369.

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.

Green, D.M., H. Kaiser, Sharbel, T.F., Kearsley, J. and McAllister, K.R. 1997. Cryptic species of spotted frogs, Rana pretiosa complex, in western North America. Copeia: 1-8.

Green, D.M., Sharbel, T.F., Kearsley, J. and Kaiser, H. 1996. Postglacial range fluctuation, genetic subdivision and speciation in the western North American spotted frog complex, Rana pretiosa. Evolution: 374-390.

Hodge, R.P. 1976. Amphibians and Reptiles in Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, Anchorage, Alaska.

Hollenbeck, R.R. 1974. Growth rates and movements within a population of Rana pretiosa pretiosa Baird and Girard in south central Montana. M.A. Thesis., Montana State University, Bozeman.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Licht, L.E. 1986. Food and feeding behavior of sympatric red-legged frogs, Rana aurora, and spotted frogs, Rana pretiosa, in southwestern British Columbia. Canadian Field-Naturalist: 22-31.

Mullen, C. 1999. Community-based stewardship in Nevada. Endangered Species Bulletin: 9.

Munger, J.C., Ames, A. and Barnett, B. 1997. 1996 Survey for Columbia spotted frogs in the Owyhee Mountains of Southwestern Idaho. Technical Bulletin: 27 pp.

Munger, J.C., Gerber, M., Madrid, K., Carroll, M.-A., Petersen, W. and Heberger, L. 1998. U.S. National Wetland Inventory classifications as predictors of the occurrence of Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) and Pacific treefrogs (Hyla regilla). Conservation Biology: 320-330.

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.

Reaser, J.K. 1996. Rana pretiosa (spotted frog): Vagility. Herpetological Review: 196-197.

Reaser, J.K. 2000. Demographic analysis of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris): case study in spatiotemporal variation. Canadian Journal of Zoology: 1158-1167.

Slough, B.G. 2002. Geographic distribution: Rana luteiventris. Herpetological Review: 146.

Spahr, R., Armstrong, L., Atwood, D. and Rath, M. 1991. Threatened, endangered, and sensitive species of the Intermountain Region. U.S. Forest Service, Ogden, Utah.

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

Stebbins, R.C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Turner, F.B. 1960. Population structure and dynamics of the western spotted frog, Rana p. pretiosa Aaird and Girard, in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming. Ecological Monographs: 251-178.

Turner, F.B. and Dumas, P.C. 1972. Rana pretiosa. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles: 1-4.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. 12-month finding for a petition to list the Wasatch Front Columbia spotted frog as threatened throughout its range. Federal Register (30 August 2002): 55758-55767.

Washington Department of Wildlife. 1991. Spotted Frog Rana pretiosa. Unpublished report from Washington Department of Wildlife, Olympia.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Rana luteiventris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T58649A78908785. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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