AmphibiaWeb - Rana heckscheri


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Rana heckscheri Wright, 1924
River Frog
Subgenus: Aquarana
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.

© 2010 Todd Pierson (1 of 13)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
National Status None
Regional Status None
Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (2 records).

Average snout-vent length is 90-120 mm. Large males have snout-vent length between 110 and 120 mm, and females reach snout-vent lengths between 130 and 140 mm, and up to 155 mm. The dorsum is blackish green and unmarked or greyish olive with a pattern of small, well separated dark markings of irregular, angular, or linear shape. These markings may be larger, more rounded, and interconnected. Its venter is medium to dark grey or black with light spots or worm-like markings. A light girdle usually outlines the groin. Males have a throat which is dark grey or black washed with yellow and often bears prominent yellow spots. Both females and males have smooth to moderately rugose dorsal skin. Some individuals are very rugose and have skin which is heavily wrinkled by large warts and ridges. Rugose individuals have two parallel rows of elongate tubercles dorsolaterally, but these are poorly defined in smooth individuals.
The calls of adult males are a rolling snore or an explosive grunt.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States. Introduced: China.

U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (2 records).
R. heckscheri inhabits Coastal Plain river swamps of the southeastern United States from the Cape Fear River drainage in North Carolina southward to northern Florida and westward along the Gulf Coast to the Biloxi River in Mississippi.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Up until they're 20 mm in length, larvae are black with a conspicuous gold band across the dorsum and no pigment in the tail. Between 21 and 40 mm, melanophores form along the crests of the tail and the gold band starts to fade. At 50-55 mm the dorsum is dark olive covered with tiny, greenish yellow flecks, the venter is purplish, and the tail is edged in black. Larvae transform at or before a size of 158 mm. There are two or three rows of labial teeth above and three below.


Sanders. A. E. (1963). ''Rana heckscheri. River Frog.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 348.1-348.2.

Originally submitted by: Franziska Sandmeier (first posted 2001-02-21)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2001 Rana heckscheri: River Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 20, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 20 May 2024.

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