Skip booklet index and go to page content

Red-legged Frog (Rana Aurora)

Special Significance of the Species

Frogs in general have a benevolent public image, and the declines of their populations worldwide have featured prominently in popular literature and news coverage. In the north temperate zone, ranid frogs (of the family Ranidae) have been affected more severely than other groups of amphibians (in terms of number of species with documented declines; Crump 2003). Many of the declines in western North America have involved species of Rana. Population declines of these frogs may be indicative of broader ecosystem deterioration and signal impending ecological problems. Because of the value of ranid frogs as indicator species, population trends of the Red-legged Frog and other native Rana warrant documentation and public concern. Because of its relatively large spatial requirements and its close association with moist forests, stream banks, and wetlands, the Red-legged Frog could be viewed as an emblem for wilderness values and forest ecosystem health. This species also could also be viewed as a representative of amphibians with biphasic life-cycles that include both terrestrial and aquatic habitats, reflecting the importance of landscape-wide habitat connections.

The Red-legged Frog is the only native ranid or “true frog” on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine coast, and it has a relatively small overall range in North America. It is of scientific interest as a member of the western North American Rana boylii group, which reflects the genetic, historical, and geographical complexity of this region. Amphibians in general play important roles in the ecosystem both as consumers of invertebrates and as prey for birds, mammals, and other larger organisms. The ecological role of the Red-legged Frog in forest ecosystems is incompletely understood, but because of its local abundance and widespread distribution within its range, its role could be considerable in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Its role as a consumer of insect pests could be of public interest.

Frogs feature in the mythology and art of the Coastal Salish, Haida, and other First Nations groups of western Canada, but it is unknown whether the Red-legged Frog in particular holds special significance to aboriginal peoples.