Columbia Spotted Frog

Rana luteiventris

Species at Risk: Sensitive


Columbian spotted frogs are a medium sized frog (up to about 4” or 10 cm). They are considered a “True” Frog. True Frogs are considered to be any western tail-less frog with distinct dorso-lateral folds. They are green to brown, with black spots on the dorsum (back). As the scientific name suggests, they are yellow-white under the belly (“Lutei” means yellow, and “ventris” refers to the ventral side, or underside, of the animal). They live a very aquatic lifestyle, which is reflected in their very webbed feet. They are primarily nocturnal, meaning that they are most active at night. They feed on insects, as well as crustaceans, mollusks and arachnids. Breeding season for Alberta’s Columbian Spotted Frogs is late May to June after the snow melts. Female will lay up to 1500 eggs, which are left floating free in the water column, and hatch into tadpoles in only 4 days! Growth, metamorphosis and maturity depend on the water temperature and the length of the summer. It can take up to 6 years to reach sexual maturity.


In Alberta, Columbian Spotted Frogs are limited to the mountainous areas in the West of the province. They live in lakes, ponds, slow-moving streams and marshes in alpine and sub-alpine regions. They are prone to predation, and therefore have a strong need for low-growing vegetation (algae, aquatic plants) in and around their selected body of water. They over-winter in pond bottoms, below the ice.


Columbian Spotted Frogs are not widespread in Alberta, and are considered to be Sensitive. They are threatened by introduced fish and habitat fragmentation


External link opens in new tab or windowWikipedia
External link opens in new tab or windowAlberta Wildlife
External link opens in new tab or windowNature Watch

Photo by Kris Kendall