Mysterious Frog #727830 - Ask Extension


Mysterious Frog #727830

Asked September 29, 2020, 4:56 PM EDT

Can anyone tell me what kind of frog this is and why its limbs are so brightly colored? This frog was spotted Sept 29th at Columbia Springs Hatchery in Vancouver, WA. It was fairly large, maybe 6-7cm in length, but it was hard to observe because it dashed under a grate to hide.

Clark County Washington

Expert Response

Thank you for your question. The photo doesn't show enough of the frog for me to make an identification. I suspect the orange coloration of the leg is a mutation of some kind. I forwarded your photo to a herpetologist I know to get his opinion.

I'll be back in touch as soon as I hear back from him.  Thank you for your patience.

Jim Burke Replied September 30, 2020, 5:48 PM EDT
Thanks for your time and attention, Jim! I’m curious to hear if it might be a mutation and if that might be indicative of a pollutant. Water quality is very important for the hatchery. 
The Question Asker Replied October 01, 2020, 12:08 PM EDT
Hello again. I heard back from my herpetologist contact. He has much more experience with frogs than I do. He believes this is a bullfrog, scientific name Lithobates catesbeianus. They are native to the eastern United States, but were introduced to the western region as early as 1900. Introduction is usually through escapes from aquaculture operations, pet trade, landscape ponds, research and teaching.

Here's a link to the USDA National Invasive Species Information Center's page on bullfrogs:

He believes the coloration on your frog is most likely a genetic anomaly versus a water quality issue.

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim Burke Replied October 02, 2020, 11:33 AM EDT

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