|Taxonomic Notes: This species is placed in Lithobates by some authors, following Frost et al., 2006. This has been a controversial decision, because such well-known species as Rana catesbeiana, with an enormous literature, are made more obscure to many. What is not controversial is that Lithobates is the sister taxon of Rana, so the argument is simply one of Linnean ranks. AmphibiaWeb recommends treating Lithobates as a subgenus of Rana, with species names to be written as Rana (Lithobates) catesbeiana, as an example. This option preserves the maximal amount of phylogenetic information and preserves a long-standing taxonomy.|
© 2012 David A. Rodríguez (1 of 33)
Adult coloration is variable. Some individuals have a bright green dorsal color with small dark spots bordered in gold. In this form, the canthal region is brown, with the color fading beneath the eye and through the tympanic region until meeting the dorsolateral fold. A greenish gold stripe runs along the upper lip. Limbs are green dorsally, with some brown and gold speckling. The flanks, palms, and soles are pink to orange-red. In contrast, other individuals are reddish brown with darker dorsal spotting. In this second form, the dorsolateral folds are yellowish brown with a diffuse dark streak. The flanks and dorsal region of the limbs are also a yellowish brown. There is a loosely defined dark streak extending from the canthal region and continuing above and posterior to the tympanum. Both of these color variations are found in natural populations, Although Zweifel (1964) stated that "the green adults are decidedly in the minority," Villa (1988) noted no dominance of coloration pattern. The amount of spotting on individuals varies greatly also, from none at all to very large numerous spots.
The larvae are brown, paler in the tail fin, but without a definite pattern. Larger larvae develop an olive-green ground color with dark spotting. The mouth is small, with a single continuous row of denticles followed by four rows divided by the upper beak. The first lower row is also continuous, followed by a maximum of three uninterrupted rows (Villa 1988).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Costa Rica, Panama
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This species is semi-aquatic (Stuart et al. 2008). Breeding occurs in shallow bodies of water, ponds or slow moving streams (Villa 1988). Eggs have been observed from November to May, as well as tadpoles of all sizes, which suggests a long larval period (Zweifel 1964; Lips 1998).
Trends and Threats
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
Cope, E. D. (1894). ''Third addition to a knowledge of the batrachia and reptilia of Costa Rica.'' Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 46, 194-206.
Hillis, D. M. and De Sa, R. (1988). ''Phylogeny and taxonomy of the Rana palmipes Group (Salientia: Ranidae).'' Herpetological Monographs, (2), 1-26.
Lips, K. R. (1998). ''Decline of a tropical montane amphibian fauna.'' Conservation Biology, 12(1), 106-117.
Savage, J. M. (2002). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.
Stuart, S., Hoffmann, M., Chanson, J., Cox, N., Berridge, R., Ramani, P., and Young, B. (eds) (2008). Threatened Amphibians of the World. Lynx Edicions, IUCN, and Conservation International, Barcelona, Spain; Gland, Switzerland; and Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Villa, J. D. (1988). ''Rana vibicaria (Cope) Rana montaÃ±era.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, 437.1-437.2.
Zweifel, R. G. (1964). ''Distribution and life history of a Central American frog, Rana vibicaria.'' Copeia, 1964(2), 300-308.
Written by Amy Jess (amyj AT uclink4.berkeley.edu), University of California, Berkeley
First submitted 1999-06-02
Edited by Kellie Whittaker (2011-10-31)
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