Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Columbia Spotted Frog
(Rana luteiventris)

Photo: Columbia spotted frog
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae
Genus: Rana
Species: luteiventris
Length: Males: 80 mm; Females: 100 mm
Weight: Males: 47 g; Females: 103 g
Lifespan: Up to 12 years
Feed: Terrestrial and aquatic insects
Breeding: April - May
Eggs: Mass-hatch 8-22 days

Official Status:

Designated as a Candidate species for listing September 19, 1997.
This includes Great Basin Columbia spotted frog populations in both northeastern Nevada and the Toiyabe Range.


Life History:

Reproducing populations are found in habitats characterized by springs, floating vegetation, and larger bodies of pooled water (e.g., oxbows, lakes, stock ponds, beaver-created ponds, springs, seeps in wet meadows, backwaters). Females may lay only one egg mass per year; yearly fluctuations in the sizes of egg masses are extreme. Successful egg production and the viability and metamorphosis of spotted frogs are susceptible to habitat variables such as temperature, depth, and pH of water, cover, and the presence/absence of predators (e.g., fishes and bullfrogs). Eggs hatch in 8-22 days. Hatching time is influenced by temperature. Tadpoles metamorphose from mid summer to fall. Males can reach sexual maturity after two winters and females after three winters.

Distribution and Habitat:


Rangewide: Columbia spotted frogs range from extreme southeast Alaska south through British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, western Montana and Wyoming, northern and central Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and eastern Washington. Isolated relict populations persist in southeast Oregon, southwest Idaho, northeast and central Nevada, western and central Utah, and the Big Horn Mountains east of the continental divide in Wyoming.

Nevada: Columbia spotted frogs currently are found in central (Nye County) and northeast (Elko and Eureka Counties) Nevada, usually at elevations between 5600 and 8700 feet, although they have been recorded historically in a broader range. Based upon geography, Columbia spotted frogs in Nevada can be grouped further into three well-defined subpopulations: (1) a large subpopulation located across the Jarbidge and Independence Ranges and the Tuscarora Mountains located in the northern portion of Elko County and northern portion of Eureka County (Jarbidge-Independence subpopulation); (2) an isolated subpopulation located in the Ruby Mountains in the southeastern portion of Elko county (Ruby Mountains subpopulation); and (3) an isolated subpopulation in the Toiyabe Range of central Nevada in Nye County (Toiyabe Range subpopulation).

Columbia spotted frogs prefer lakes, ponds, wetlands, beaver ponds but they are also found in moving waters. The habitat may be permanent or ephemeral and emergent or floating vegetation is often present. Basking habitat is also thought to be important for the species. Breeding sites are often in the warmest areas of a pond, have high solar radiation (often the north side), and are associated with shallow water.



  Threats to the species habitat include water diversions, improper grazing management, spring development, and fragmentation from roads and culverts. Disease such as chytrid fungus has been found in several populations outside of Nevada. Predation from native and non-native species may threaten small isolated populations that are common in Nevada. Climate change, UV-B radiation, and toxic chemicals used for mining, agriculture, mosquito abatement, and herbicides or pesticides have all been identified as threats to the species. A Conservation Agreement and Strategy was signed in September 2003 by numerous Federal, State, and local agencies to help conserve the species in Nevada.

Actions / Current Information:

01/11/2007 * 2005 Annual Report: Toiyabe Spotted Frog Conservation Agreement and Strategy Implementation
  * 2005 Annual Report: Great Basin Population of Columbia Spotted Frog Northeastern Subpopulations Conservation Agreement and Strategy Implementation (1.9 MB PDF)
09/2003 * Federal, State & County parnters agreed to help frogs in Nevada and signed Conservation Agreements signed for two populations of Columbia Spotted Frog.
    * Toiyabe Population Agreement
Map 1 | Map 2 (9.9 MB PDF)| Map 3 | Map 4 (1.4 MB PDF)
    * Northeast Population Agreement
Part1 | Part 2 | Part 3 (2 MB PDF)| Part 4 | Part 5
Last updated: April 16, 2014