AmphibiaWeb - Pelodytes caucasicus


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Pelodytes caucasicus Boulenger, 1896
Caucasian Parsley Frog
family: Pelodytidae
genus: Pelodytes
Pelodytes caucasicus
© 2010 David Tarkhnishvili (1 of 2)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Near Threatened (NT)
National Status Red Data Books of the USSR, Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Regional Status Red Data Book of Krasnodar Region, Russia; Bern Convention (Annex 2), 2002.


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Sternum ossified. Tympanic membrane present. Pupil of the eye rounded with vertical axis. Webs between toes small. Inner metatarsal tubercle small and rounded. Males with internal guttural resonators (vocal sacs). Dorsal skin with tubercles, regular in arrangement. Back olive with dark-greenish spots or gray-brownish with dark spots. Sometimes red points on the back. In non-breeding specimens, dorsal pattern forms an obliquely positioned cross with two light spots near its hind corners. Belly gray. During the breeding season, male has nuptial pads in the form of black tubercles on the chest, upper arms, forearms, first and second fingers; small cornified spines are formed on back, flanks, and lower jaw margin; coloration becomes darker, dorsal cross pattern disappears. Female is always lighter than male, reddish-brown from above; belly reddish in its posterior part.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation, Turkey

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Pelodytes caucasicus lives in the area of mountain forests of the Caucasian Isthmus. In Russia, it lives in the mountainous parts of Krasnodar Region and probably North Ossetia. The easternmost records in the North Caucasus (in Southern Chechnya) need verification. In Georgia, this species lives primarily in the western part and in South Ossetia. The northern limit of the range extends in Russia from Shapsugsky and Erivansky settlements in the vicinity of Novorossiisk City (ca. 44º46'N, 38ºE) by the northern slope of the Main Caucasian Ridge southeastwards to the headwaters of the Urup River (ca.43º40'N, 41ºE). The limit extends southwards to the southern slope of the Main Caucasian Ridge and along this eastwards in a line from Gagra Town to the Inguri River to Shovi Settlement to Barisakho Settlement to Zakataly Town (ca. 41º41'N, 46º34'E). The southern range margin extends from the Black Sea shore of Turkey (Rize Vilayet) and Georgia through the southern slope of Adjaro-Imeretian Ridge, northeastward to Telavi Town to Azerbaijan (Zakataly Nature Reserve: 41º47'N, 46º36'E) and possibly Belokany District. The range extends along the Main Caucasian Ridge as a narrow band 10-30 km in width and 750 km in length.

Pelodytes caucasicuslives in broad-leaved, mixed coniferous-deciduous and, rarely, coniferous mountain forests and the subalpine belt. It occurs on the shores and banks of ponds and streams with clear and cold semi-flowing and flowing water, sometimes 200-300 m away from water. The Caucasian Parsley Frog is a clearly psychrophilous amphibian, preferring shaded and cool conditions.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Population density of this species is locally high, sometimes 5-10 adult individuals per 25-100 m2 of pond surface. However, its distribution is quite patchy, and probably it is a rare species. In general, the frog is more numerous in the North Caucasus than in Transcaucasia.

Hibernation occurs from September - November to March. Reproduction occurs between May and December, but usually between May and September, with the peak usually in June - July. Spawning occurs in shaded sites. Each female reproduces once during the season. This species is not an "explosive breeder", and the spawning season may be long even in the same water body. The males usually spend the day near the water body (under tree roots, in holes on the shore etc.) and at night return to breeding pools. Males arrive before females and vocalize in the evening and the first half of the night. The clutch contains 80-750 eggs which are deposited in a few small portions in the form of mucous sacs. The tadpoles may undergo metamorphosis 2-3 months later, but frequently the larvae overwinter and complete their metamorphosis during the following year, in April - July (usually May - June). Sometimes the tadpoles hibernate for the second time. Sexual maturity is attained at 2-3 years old or later. Maximum longevity in this species is estimated as 9 years.

Trends and Threats
Not studied.

Relation to Humans
Mortality on roads, pollution of wetlands by pesticides, mineral fertilizers and cattle, as well as collecting by people are known as negative anthropogenic factors. However, there are no clear data on population declines under the influence of anthropogenic activity. Nevertheless, the species has a low potential for synanthropization: its populations are not known even in settlements.


Bannikov, A. G., Darevsky, I. S. and Rustamov, A. K. (1971). Zemnovodnye i Presmykayushchienya SSSR [Amphibians and Reptiles of the USSR]. Izdatelistvo Misl, Moscow.

Bannikov, A. G., Darevsky, I. S., Ishchenko, V. G., Rustamov, A. K., and Szczerbak, N. N. (1977). Opredelitel Zemnovodnykh i Presmykayushchikhsya Fauny SSSR [Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of the USSR Fauna]. Prosveshchenie, Moscow.

Basoglu, M. and Ozeti, N. (1973). Turkiye Amphibileri. Ege Univ, Bornova-Izmir.

Gasc, J. P. , Cabela, A., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, J., Dolmen, D., Grossenbacher,K., Haffner, P., Lescure, J., Martens, H., Martinez Rica, J. P.,Maurin, H., Oliveira, M. E., Sofianidou, T. S., Vaith, M., and Zuiderwijk, A. (1997). Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica and Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Kuzmin, S. L. (1995). Die Amphibien Russlands und angrenzender Gebiete. Westarp Wissenschaften, Magdeburg.

Kuzmin, S. L. (1999). The Amphibians of the Former Soviet Union. Pensoft, Sofia-Moscow.

Steiner, H. M. (1968). ''Pelodytes caucasicus Boulenger (Pelobatidae: Amphibia) in der Türkei.'' Annals Naturhistorische Museum Wien, 72, 291-298.

Tarkhnishvili, D. N. and Gokhelashvili, R. K. (1999). ''The amphibians of the Caucasus.'' Advances in Amphibian Research in the Former Soviet Union, 4, 1-233.

Terent'ev, P. V. and Chernov, S. A (1965). Key to Amphibians and Reptiles [of the USSR]. Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem.

Originally submitted by: Sergius L. Kuzmin (first posted 1999-10-03)
Edited by: Meredith J. Mahoney (2021-01-26)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Pelodytes caucasicus: Caucasian Parsley Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 17, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 17 Jul 2024.

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