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A Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Coastal Southern California


Photos by Chris Brown

Scientific name: Rana draytonii

Common name: California Red-legged Frog

Size: 1.75-5.51 in (4.4-14.0 cm)

Distinguishing characters: A moderate to large species with dorsolateral folds; red lower abdomen and underside of hindlegs; brown, grey, olive or reddish color on dorsum with black flecks and dark, irregular, light-centered blotches; dark mask with whitish border above upper jaw; black and red or yellow mottling in groin; roughened skin on dorsum.

Juveniles: More pronounced dorsal spotting; may have yellow instead of red markings on underside of legs.

Dimorphism: Male has enlarged forelimbs, thumbs, and webbing.

Similar species:  Pseudacris hypochondriacaPseudacris cadaverina: Both have toe pads. Lithobates catesbeiana: Lacks dorsolateral folds; has plain, unicolored dorsum; lacks red or yellow color in groin. Rana boylii: Lacks dorsolateral folds; has pale triangle on snout. Rana muscosa: Lacks dorsolateral folds; has yellow underside of legs; smoother skin; dark-tipped toes. Lithobates pipiens: Has more distinct dorsolateral folds; spotted with more uniform pattern; more pointed snout.

Additional notes: Uncommon or rare within study area. Report sightings immediately to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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