Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Columbia Spotted Frog
(Rana luteiventris)

Photo: Columbia spotted frog
Class: Amphibian
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:

Columbia spotted frogs were first designated as a Candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act in 1993. After being on the Candidate list for 22 years, the Service announced a 12-month finding of “not warranted” for Columbia Spotted Frog Great Basin DPS on October 8, 2015, and removed it from the Candidate list based upon long-term, proactive, collaborative conservation by partner organizations to significantly reduce threats.


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. While the oldest frogs documented were 12–13 years old, most males live 3–4 years and females typically survive 5–8 years. Adult Columbia spotted frogs feed day or night and are opportunistic feeders, consuming many types of insects, mollusks, and even other amphibians. Columbia spotted frog tadpoles are grazers, which consume algae and detritus.

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.

Great Basin:
Columbia spotted frogs in southeastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho, and northern and central Nevada make up the Great Basin Distinct Population Segment.  Within Nevada, Columbia spotted frogs are currently found in Nye, Elko, Eureka, and Humboldt Counties, 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).  In 2013, Columbia spotted frogs were detected in the McDermitt Creek watershed west of the town of McDermitt, Humboldt County, Nevada.

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 in permanent waterbodies 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, historic beaver management, and habitat fragmentation from the effects of past habitat destruction and modification.  Disease such as chytrid fungus has been found in several populations; however, chytrid has not been associated with large die-offs of Columbia spotted frogs, which have plagued other amphibian species.  Predation from non-native species may threaten small populations and can further isolate other populations.  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 10-year Conservation Agreement and Strategy (CAS) was signed in September 2003 by numerous Federal, State, and local agencies to help conserve the species in Nevada.  Due to the success of this CAS, a new 10-year CAS was signed in February 2015.

Actions / Current Information:


The Service announces its 12-month “not warranted finding” for the Great Basin Distinct Population Segment of Columbia spotted frogs.
Toiyabe Spotted Frog Conservation Agreement and Strategy Implementation
* Species Status Assessment Report for the Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) Great Basin Distinct Population Segment (6.7MB PDF)
* Columbia Spotted Frog, Great Basin Distinct Population Segment (DPS) Species Assessment (1.3MB PDF)
* Frequently Asked Questions
* News Release - October 8, 2015

10/2015 * Conservation Agreement and Conservation Strategy (2.4MB PDF)
09/2003 * Federal, State & County partnersagreed 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: October 8, 2015