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Species Description

Pickerel Frog

Rana palustris


Species Image

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae

Description

Gray to tan, with two rows of dark brown to black blotches running down the back. The blotches are somewhat square to rectangular, and many appear to have a lighter ring of color around them. The belly is light with dark specks. The rear portion of the belly and the inner thighs are bright yellow or orange. A slender, medium-sized frog, 4.5 - 8.9 cm (1 3/4 - 3.5 in) in length.

Life Cycle

The Pickerel Frog breeds in late winter and early spring. The female lays up to 2,500 eggs in several masses in shallow water. Eggs are brown and yellow, and egg masses form jelly-like globs underwater. Eggs are attached to submerged vegetation or other solid underwater structures. Transformation from egg to tadpole to frog can take up to three months. This frog seems to have particularly noxious skin secretions. Snakes that normally eat frogs will avoid this species. The Pickerel Frog is nocturnal and is dormant during the coldest winter months. It eats insects and other small invertebrates. It prefers waters that are cool and clear, and can be found in a variety of wooded habitats with nearby bogs or shaded streams. At times, it will move well away from water into grassy fields.

Range

Pickerel Frog Region Map The Pickerel Frog is found in northern Georgia but does not reach south to the Fall Line.

Conservation Status

The Pickerel Frog is listed as a species of Undetermined Status in South Carolina and is uncommon to rare in that state. Its status is not known in Georgia. Protection of clear, cool mountain streams is necessary to ensure habitat for this species.

Similar Species

The distinctiveness of the blotches and the color of the belly and legs make this an easy frog to identify. The Southern Leopard Frog is the only frog in Georgia that could be confused with the Pickerel Frog. The Southern Leopard Frog has rounded spots and does not have the yellow to orange coloring on the lower belly and thighs that the Pickerel Frog possesses.