The Northern Red-legged Frog is a medium-sized (7?10 cm) reddish-brown and black-speckled frog that gets its name from the translucent red undersides of its hind legs. Its range extends along the Pacific coast, west of the Coast and Cascade Mountains from southwestern British Columbia to northwestern California. In British Columbia, the Northern Red-legged Frog occurs mainly throughout the forested lowlands (< 1200 m elevation) of Vancouver Island, the adjacent Gulf Islands, along the mainland coast as far north as Kingcome Inlet, and in the Lower Fraser Valley to Hope. The Northern Red-legged Frog requires structurally complex wetlands (i.e., the ratio of emergent vegetation to open water) and forest habitats (i.e., abundant canopy cover, downed wood and litter) in a suitable spatial configuration to complete its life cycle.
The Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora) was first designated as Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada in 1999 and was re-examined and confirmed in 2002, 2004 and 2015 (Waye 1999, COSEWIC 2002, 2004, 2015). It is listed as Special Concern in Canada on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). In British Columbia, the Northern Red-legged Frog is ranked S3S4 (special concern, vulnerable to extirpation or extinction up to apparently secure) by the Conservation Data Centre and is on the provincial Blue list. The B.C. Conservation Framework ranks the Northern Red-legged Frog as a priority 1 under goal 2 (prevent species and ecosystems from becoming at risk) and as a priority 2 under goal 3 (maintain the diversity of native species and ecosystems). It is protected from capture and killing, under the B.C. Wildlife Act. It is also listed as a species that requires special management attention to address the impacts of forest and range activities under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) and/or the impacts of oil and gas activities under the Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA) on Crown land (as described in the Identified Wildlife Management Strategy).
A portion of the British Columbia population of Northern Red-legged Frogs occurs in densely human-populated areas where wetlands and forests continue to be lost and fragmented due to urban and agricultural development and road construction. Wetland habitats are drained and altered by development, water management projects, and possibly by aggregate extraction. Throughout most of the rest of the Northern Red-legged Frogs? range, habitats are modified as a result of logging. Introduced species (e.g., bullfrogs and sport-fish) and pollution have been shown to have detrimental effects on the development and growth rates of the species. Emerging diseases, such as chytridiomycosis, climate change, and UV-B radiation could exacerbate other threats and are topics of active research on declining amphibian populations around the world.
The management goal is to maintain self-sustaining and ecologically functioning populations of the Northern Red-legged Frog in occupied watersheds throughout its range in British Columbia.
B.C. Ministry of Environment. 2015. Management Plan for the Northern Red-legged Frog (Rana aurora) in British Columbia. Province of BC. Management Plan (Species at Risk)
Topic: Recovery Planning
Scientific Name: Rana aurora
English Name: Red-legged Frog
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