Lithobates clamitans (Latreille 1801)
lĭth-ō-bā'-tēz — klăm-ĭ-tăns

Conservation Status:

State: Kansas Threatened Species

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S1 - Critically Imperiled
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure

An adult Green Frog from Cherokee County, Kansas. © Travis W. Taggart.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A tadpole of Rana clamitans. Image © Altig et al. (2006).
An adult Green Frog from Cherokee County, Kansas. © Travis W. Taggart.

Length in Kansas up to 3.5 inches. These frogs are various shades of green, though young individuals may have some black spots. Usually, there is dark mottling under the legs and head. It has two raised ridges of skin down each side of its back. The eardrums of males are much larger than their eyes.
Adults normally 54-90 mm (2 1/8-3½ inches) in SVL; largest Kansas specimen: female (KU 17474) from Cherokee County with SVL of 88 mm (3½ inches) collected by Edward H. Taylor and Hobart M. Smith on 25 March 1933; maximum length throughout the range: 4¼ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

This frog is known from the Spring River and its tributaries in Cherokee County. An old record from Miami County (KU 9281, which is now lost) was taken near the Marais des Cygnes River at Osawatomie on 11 July 1911.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 80
  • 36
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 44
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Cherokee (79); Miami (1);

Natural History:
Their summer breeding call sounds like the pluck of a loose banjo string and can be heard both day and night. They breed in permanent ponds and along streams with vegetated borders. The adults eat invertebrates and occasionally small frogs and fish. Rather than chase their prey, they sit and eat whatever comes by.

Occurrence Activity:
The blue dates denote chorusing actity. The red dates are other occurrences. The darker a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.

Audio recording by Keith Coleman.

Chorusing Phenology: The black outlined dots denote the Julian date (day of the year; 1 January = 1 to 31 December = 365) an observation was made. The thin red line depicts the range of dates between the beginning of the first, and end of the fourth quartile (excluding outliers; Tukey method). The thick light blue bar represents the second and third quartile (interquartile range; the middle 50% of all observations). Only one observation per Julian date is included in the graphs; so a date with multiple observations carries the same weight as a date with only one observation. The vertical bars correspond to the 12 months of the year; January through December.
# Unique Obervations: 38; Range: 03 Jun to 23 Jul; Interquartile range: 04 Jun to 22 Jul;

Observation Type: (of recorded types)
Smith (1932) first reported the Green Frog from abandoned strip pits 3-5 miles north of Baxter Springs near the Spring River. From the same locality, he also reported Eurycea spelaeus, Eurycea longicauda, and Rana palustris. Habitat for these taxa is marginal at best at the listed locality however established populations 3-5 miles east of Baxter Springs along Shoal Creek are well-documented.
The oldest existing specimen is from 1911 (KU9281).
Collins (1982) surveyed the Ozark Plateau for this species without success. He suggested at that time that this taxon be designated as state Endangered Species. Miller (1985) studied this frog in southeastern Kansas, and much of our current understanding is due to his efforts. He was able to document three additional localities for this frog in the Ozark Plateau of southeastern Cherokee County.
Efforts to corroborate the Miami County record were unsuccessful during this study, however, suitable habitat does exist along the Marais des Cygnes and many of its tributaries in eastern Kansas. Further support for the possible existence of a northern population is supported by specimens reported by (Daniel and Edmond, 2005) just to the east in Missouri.
This species can be found in the backwaters along the Spring River and Shoal Creek. In certain localities, it can be the second most observably abundant anuran (behind the Cricket Frog). An extensive survey along the Spring River and its tributaries (Turkey, Shoal, Brush, Shawnee, and Cow creeks) would certainly help to clarify its status in the state.
Listed as a Kansas Threatened species in 1987. No recovery plan has been completed.
As defined by Kansas Administrative Regulations, critical habitats include those areas documented as currently supporting self-sustaining population(s) of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife as well as those areas determined by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism to be essential for the conservation of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife.
Currently, the following areas are designated critical for Green Frogs:
(1) All waters and wetlands within or upon the main stem Spring River channel and adjacent flood plain from the river's point of entry into Cherokee County at Sec. 1, T33S, R25E, to its point of departure at Sec. 18, T35S, R25E.
(2) All waters and wetlands within or upon the main stem Shoal Creek Channel and adjacent flood plain from the creek's point of entry into Cherokee County at Sec. 36, T34S, R25E, to its confluence with Spring River at Sec. 19, T34S, R25E.

1932 Smith, Hobart M. A report upon amphibians hitherto unknown from Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 35():93-96
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
1941 Mansueti, R. A descriptive catalogue of the amphibians and reptiles found in and around Baltimore City, Maryland, within a radius of twenty miles. Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Maryland 7():1-53
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Perry, Janice. Kansas herps needed. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (18):2-3
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1979 Gray, Peter. Low attendance slows KHS. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (32):1
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of three amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 57pp.
1983 Stewart, Margaret M. Rana clamitans. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (337):1-4
1985 Miller, Larry L. Investigation of the Green Frog Rana clamitans melanota in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 16pp.
1988 Busby, William H. The Kansas Natural Heritage Program: Taking stock of Kansas' natural heritage. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):9-12
1989 Simmons, John E. Endangered and threatened in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (75):4-5
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas endangered, threatened, and SINC species. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):
1992 Taggart, Travis W. KHS field trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):3
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. 1994 Field Trip Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (95):3-4
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2005 Daniel, Richard and Brian Edmond Atlas of Missouri Amphibians and Reptiles Privately printed, Jefferson City, Missouri. 68 pppp.
2005 Hillis, David M. and Thomas P. Wilcox Phylogeny of the New World True Frogs (Rana) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34(2):299-314
2006 Altig, Ronald, Roy W. McDiarmid, Kimberly A. Nichols, and Paul C. Ustach Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key Electronic files accessible at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. ():
2006 Frost, Darrel R, Taran Grant, Julian Faivovich, Raoul H. Bain, Alexander Haas, Celio F. B. Haddad, Rafael O. De Sa, Alan Channing, Mark Wilkinson, Stephen C. Donnellan, Christopher J. Raxworthy, Jonathan A. Campbell, Boris L. Blotto, Paul Moler, Robert C. Drewes, Ronald A. Nussbaum, John D. Lynch, David M. Green, and Ward C. Wheeler. The amphibian tree of life Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (297):370
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2008 Austin, James D. and Kelly R. Zamudio Incongruence in the pattern and timing of intra-specific diversification in bronze frogs and bullfrogs (Ranidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48():1041-1053
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2011 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2011 spring field trip to beheld in Chautauqua County. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (37):5-7
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2014 Taggart, Travis W. Recent scientific and standard English name changes effecting the Kansas herpetofauna. Collinsorum 3(2-4):9-10
2015 Rohweder, Megan R. Kansas Wildlife Action Plan. Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in cooperation with the Kansas Biological Survey. 176pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
Account Last Updated:
7/29/2020 1:13:46 PM