AmphibiaWeb - Rana iberica


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Rana iberica Boulenger, 1879
Iberian Frog
Subgenus: Rana
family: Ranidae
genus: Rana
Rana iberica
© 2014 Andreas Noellert & Christel Noellert (1 of 46)

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Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Vulnerable (VU)
National Status "Vulnerable" status in Spanish Red Book
Regional Status None


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This frog has a maximum snout-vent length of 70 mm but usually they are 40 to 50 mm long. The tympanum is small but visible, from 1/2 to 3/5 the eye diameter. They present thin but well-defined dorsolateral folders. They have long hind limbs with webbed feet. Skin can be smooth or slightly granulated. The coloration is usually reddish brown above, sometimes ochre, often with dark and whitish marks and a black “V” in the back. A dark temporal stripe is present from the nostril to the eye, broadening behind the eye to the end of the jaw. A thin white stripe extends along the upper lip. Dark transverse bands are present in the hind limbs. Ventrally they are whitish to reddish. The throat is heavily pigmented in dark gray with an unpigmented central stripe.Males lack vocal sacs but have nuptial pads in the breeding season and are smaller than females (Galán 1989).Tadpoles grow to around 50 mm of total length. The spiracle is sinistral and the anus open on the right side of the tail base. Marginal papillae are absent from the upper side of the mouth. Denticles are arranged in 3 to 5 upper single rows and 4 lower single rows. The dorsal fin is well developed, starting in the posterior half of the body. The tail finish in an obtuse angle. The ground coloration is brown, sometimes reddish, with whitish and golden marks. Ventral coloration is grayish and the intestines are visible through the epithelium.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Portugal, Spain

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amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (6 records).
Rana iberica is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, where it is mostly restricted to the northwestern area. In Portugal is present in the northern half of the country (Godinho et al. 1999), with populations in the Serra de Sâo Mamede (Pargana et al. 1996) and in Pinhal de Leira (Paulo & Vicente 1989). In Spain is widely distributed in Galicia, western León and northwestern Zamora. Towards the east the populations become more scattered, reaching as far as the Basque Country. The species is also present in the mountains of central Spain (Sistema Central, Sierra de Guadalupe and Sierra de San Pedro) (Esteban 1997; Esteban & Martínez-Solano 2002). It can be found from the sea level to 2425 m of altitude (Esteban & Martínez-Solano 2002).This frog is usually found in cold streams and small rivers with preference for places with abundant riparian vegetation (Galán 1982; Barbadillo 1987; Esteban & Martínez-Solano 2002). Sometimes they are found in ponds with clear water. Some montane populations inhabit glacial lakes. They breed in the same places where they live all the year round but choosing places with slow running water. It can be found in simpatry with other species of Rana (Rana dalmatina, Rana perezi, Rana temporaria) (Esteban & Martínez-Solano 2002).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
In most of its range it is active through the year. In montane populations they are inactive during part of the winter. Adults are mainly nocturnal, but in populations from Central Spain they have some diurnal activity. Juveniles are mostly diurnal (Lizana et al. 1989).In Portugal and Galicia they breed from November through March in the lowlands (Crespo & Cei 1971; Galán 1982). In the mountains they breed from March to May (Salvador & García-París 2001). The amplexus occurs at night and usually starts in the water. The males will follow the female emitting a low vocalization that continue during the beginning of the amplexus. While in amplexus females can also emit some vocalizations (Galán 1982). Eggs are laid in small, rounded masses both attached on vegetation or in the bottom. Females can lay from 192 to 445 eggs depending on its size (Galán 1982). Larval development last about 3 months. They can eat a wide variety of preys, depending on their availability. Within its preys have been mentioned Araneida, Coleoptera, Diptera, Trichoptera, Plecoptera and Opiliones (Bas 1982; Lizana et al. 1986). As they grow they usually choose bigger preys and are able to eat hard-body preys.Several species of parasites has been found in Rana iberica, trematodes like Opisthodiscus diplodiscoides, Haplometra cylindracea, Haematoloechus variegatus, H. carbonelli, Gorgoderina vitelliloba and the paleoacantocephalid Acantocephalus falcatus (Navarro 1988; Lluch et al. 1991; Vojtkova & Roca 1994).

Trends and Threats
They are still common in the western part of its range, but to the east they become rarer and with fragmented populations. Populations from the Sistema Central Mountains to the south are considered endangered, as well as some populations from the Basque Country (Pleguezuelos et al. 2002).They main problems for this species are direct habitat modification and introduction of exotic species, especially salmonid fishes (Pleguezuelos et al. 2002; Martínez-Solano et al. 2003).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss
Predators (natural or introduced)

Go here to view a Spanish account for Rana iberica.


Barbadillo, L. J. (1987). La guía de INCAFO de los anfibios y reptiles de la Península Ibérica, Islas Baleares y Canarias. INCAFO, Madrid.

Bas, S. (1982). ''La comunidad herpetológica de Caurel: Biogeografía y Ecología.'' Amphibia-Reptilia, 3(1), 1-26.

Crespo, E. G. and Cei, J. M. (1971). ''L'activité spermatogénétique saissonière de Rana iberica Boul. du Nord de Portugal.'' Arquivos do Museu Bocage, 2 série, 3(3), 37-50.

Esteban, M. (1997). ''Rana iberica.'' Distribución y biogeografía de los anfibios y reptiles en España y Portugal. J. M. Pleguezuelos, eds., Asociación Herpetológica Española y Universidad de Granada, Granada, 161-163.

Esteban, M. and Martínez-Solano, I. (2002). ''Rana iberica.'' Atlas y libro rojo de los anfibios y reptiles de España. J. M. Pleguezuelos, R. y Márquez, and M. Lizana, eds., Dirección General de la Conservación de la Naturaleza-Asociación Herpetológica Española, Madrid, 123-125.

Galán, P. (1982). ''Biología de la reproducción de Rana iberica Boulenger, 1878 en zonas simpátridas con Rana temporaria Linneo, 1758.'' Doñana, Acta Vertebrata, 9, 85-98.

Galán, P. (1989). ''Diferenciación morfológica y selección de hábitats en las ranas pardas del noroeste ibérico: Rana iberica Boulenger, 1879 y Rana temporaria parvipalmata Seoane, 1885.'' Treballs de la Societat Catalana d’Ictiologia i Herpetologia, 2, 193-209.

Godinho, R., Teixeira, J., Rebelo, R., Segurado, P., Loureiro, A., Álvares, F., Gomes, N., Cardoso, P., Camilo-Alves, C., and Brito, J. C. (1999). ''Atlas of the continental Portuguese herpetofauna: an assemblage of published and new data.'' Revista Española de Herpetología, 13, 61-81.

Lizana, M., Ciudad, M. J., and Pérez Mellado, V. (1986). ''Uso de los recursos tróficos en una comunidad ibérica de anfibios.'' Revista Española de Herpetología, 1, 207-271.

Lluch, J., Navarro, P., and Pérez-Soler, P. (1991). ''Haematoloechus carbonelli sp. n. (Haematoloechiidae: Plagiorchata) un nouveau trématode parasite d'amphibiens de la Péninsule Ibérique.'' Revue Suisse de Zoologie, 98(2), 255-260.

Martínez-Solano, I., Bosch, J., and García-París, M. (2003). ''Demographic trends and community stability in a montane amphibian assemblage.'' Conservation Biology, 17, 238-244.

Navarro, P., Izquierdo, S., Pérez-Soler, P., Hornero, M. J., and Lluch, J. (1988). ''Contribución al conocimiento de la helmintofauna de los herpetos ibéricos. 8. Nematoda Ascaridida Skrjabin et Schultz, 1940 de Rana spp.'' Revista Ibérica de Parasitología, 48(2), 167-173.

Pargana, J. M., Paulo, O. S., and Crespo, E. G. (1996). Anfibios e répteis do Parque Natural da Serra de S. Mamede. Parque Natural da Serra de São Mamede, Portalegre.

Paulo, O. and Vicente, L. A. (1989). ''Novos datos sobre a distribuçao e ecologia de Rana iberica Boulanger, 1879 em Portugal.'' Treballs de la Societat Catalana d’Ictiologia i Herpetologia, 2, 186-192.

Pleguezuelos, J. M., Márquez, R. and Lizana, M (eds) (2002). Atlas y Libro Rojo de los Anfibios y Reptiles de España. Dirección General de Conservación de la Naturaleza-Asociación Herpetológica Española (2ª impresión), Madrid.

Salvador, A. and García-París, M. (2001). Anfibios Españoles. Canseco-Esfagnos, Talavera de la Reina.

Vojtkova, L. and Roca, V. (1994). ''Parasites of the frogs and toads in Europe. Part II: Trematoda.'' Revista Española de Herpetología, 8, 7-19.

Originally submitted by: Ernesto Recuero (first posted 2000-02-14)
Edited by: Tate Tunstall (2004-03-04)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2004 Rana iberica: Iberian Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 27, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 27 May 2024.

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