AmphibiaWeb - Rana tarahumarae


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Rana tarahumarae Boulenger, 1917
Tarahumara Frog
Subgenus: Zweifelia
family: Ranidae
genus: Rana
Taxonomic Notes: This species was placed in the genus Lithobates by Frost et al. (2006). However, Yuan et al. (2016, Systematic Biology, doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syw055) showed that this action created problems of paraphyly in other genera. Yuan et al. (2016) recognized subgenera within Rana for the major traditional species groups, with Lithobates used as the subgenus for the Rana palmipes group. AmphibiaWeb recommends the optional use of these subgenera to refer to these major species groups, with names written as Rana (Aquarana) catesbeiana, for example.
Rana tarahumarae
© 1992 Brad Moon (1 of 5)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .


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With a maximum snout-vent length of 102 mm, it is a large member of the Rana boylii group. Its distinquishing characteristics include an inner but no outer metatarsal tubercle, dorsolateral folds usually absent but occasionally present and poorly developed, an indistinct usually tympanium, and no vocal sacs in males. In addition, R. tarahumarae is pustulose and has a brown dorsum with small black or brown spots on the body, with white crossbars on the fron and hind limbs. The ventral body surface is white, the throat and chest can sometimes by gray with an indefinite melanophore pattern, and yellow con be present in the groin area. The tips of the toes are just a little bit expanded, and the toes are broadly webbed to the tips. In males, the first digit is enlarged and has a nuptial pad, but they lack vocal sacs.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Mexico, United States

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Arizona

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View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (15 records).
The range extends from the south-central edge of Arizona through the Sierra Madre Occidental of eastern Sonora to southwestern Chihuahua and nothern Sinaloa.
The habitat of R. tarahumarae includes canyon streams, some of which may only hold water in small, isolated pools in the dry season. The species is associated with oak woodland, tropical deciduous forest and pine forest vegetation, and occurs only between 1500 and 6000 feet.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The larvae are at least 97 mm long, and have a greenish gray color, with prominent black spots on the tail fin and musculature. They have a labial fringe which is indented at the corners of the mouth and has a large gap in its anterior edge. They have a maximmum of five upper and three lower rows of labial teeth.


Zweifel, R. G. (1963). ''Rana tarahumarae (Boulenger). Tarahumara Frog.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 66.1-66.2.

Originally submitted by: Franziska Sandmeier (first posted 2001-02-23)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2001 Rana tarahumarae: Tarahumara Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 21, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Jul 2024.

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