Wood Frog

Rana sylvatica

The Wood Frog is a common frog found near water, or far from water, in the woods. It grows to about three inches long. Its color ranges from pinkish-brown to tan to dark brown.

The Wood Frog is most easily recognized by its "robber mask." This black band stretches past both eyes to the eardrums.

Wood Frogs also have dorsolateral ridges, two raised lines running down their back.

This frog has a white belly.

Because Wood Frogs spend a lot of time on land, the toes on their front legs are not fully webbed. You can tell males from females by their swollen thumbs.

Wood Frogs are one of the first frogs to breed in early Spring. Their calls, which sound like a "quack," can be heard around water that's near woods. After breeding, these frogs leave the water to go off into the woods. They will return the following Spring.

J. Harding

To mate, males call females from the water. When a male sees another frog, he hugs it (called "amplexus" with frogs). Unfortunately, he can't tell a male from a female until he does. Once he hugs the other frog, he can feel if she is fat with eggs, or if he's grabbed another male. If he grabbed a male, that male will croak loudly, and this will make the first frog let go.

When the frogs have mated, the female will lay a large egg mass, holding over 1000 eggs into the water. Usually, she attaches it to some sticks or stems of a plant.

J.Harding

 

Wood Frogs all mate in the same area, so all the eggs are next to each other making a large "egg matt" on the surface of the water. This matt will grow algae on it, and soon be disguised as pond slime.

Eggs will hatch into small brownish-black tadpoles. Tadpoles take about two months to become adult frogs. They eat algae after they hatch, before moving on to small insect larvae.

Adults travel quite far from the water during Summer. They are most active during the day, but they are protected by their coloring, which camouflages them.

In winter, Wood Frogs hibernate by hiding under rocks, stumps, or leaf litter. They don't have to dig far. If they freeze, they can thaw out again.

Copyright, Walter Knapp

Copyright, Jeff LeClere

Wood Frogs are very active, and can jump farther than most frogs. To hunt, they can ambush prey, like most frogs, or sneak up on it.

Wood Frogs eat beetles, flies, caterpillars, and other insects; and also spiders, other arthropods, slugs, snails, and worms.

Predators of Wood Frog eggs and tadpoles include leeches, fish, and aquatic insects. Adults are eaten by raccoons, owls, and other animals.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Male Wood Frog Call
Sound
Unknown
Wood Frog Chorus
Sound
Unknown
Male Wood Frog Calling
Link to Video
www.midwestfrogs.com

Relationships in Nature:

PREY
PREDATORS
SHELTER
OTHER

Patent-leather Beetle

Raccoon

Common Cattail

Green Algae Mu

Earthworm

Freshwater Leech

Common Duckweed

Freshwater Leech Pa

Carpenter Ant

Common Snapping Turtle

Poison Ivy

Leopard Slug

Barred Owl

Virginia Creeper

Isopod

Green Darner

Bracken Fern

Rabid Wolf Spider

Black Rat Snake

Red Clover

Green Algae

Copperhead

Yellow Pond Lily

Eastern Yellow Jacket

Great Blue Heron

Common Elderberry

American Dog Tick

Largemouth Bass

Cinnamon Fern

Eastern Bloodsucking Conenose

Red-tailed Hawk

Green Algae

Pennsylvania Firefly

Yellow Perch

Japanese Honeysuckle

Water Flea

Crayfish

Greater Bladderwort

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth

Eastern Newt

Running Cedar

Field Cricket

Large Diving Beetle

Wild Strawberry

Common Black Ground Beetle

Blue Jay

Daring Jumping Spider

Virginia Opossum

Blue Bottle Fly

Northern Ringneck Snake

Garden Centipede

Striped Skunk

North American Millipede

Northern Water Snake

Rotifer

Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Relationship to Humans:

Wood Frogs, like all frogs, eat huge amounts of insects. This helps control them. The calls of Wood Frogs also help us know that Spring is coming.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Animal
PHYLUM
Chordate
CLASS
Amphibians
ORDER
Salientia
FAMILY
Ranidae
GENUS
Rana
SPECIES
Rana sylvatica

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