Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Amphibians » Tailed Frogs: Ascaphidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (ascaphus Montanus): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, TAILED FROGS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

Tailed Frogs: Ascaphidae - Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog (ascaphus Montanus): Species Account

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Physical characteristics: The Rocky Mountain tailed frog is a medium-sized brown to brownish black, sometimes gray, frog with tiny black specks. A lighter brown patch spreads between the large eyes, often dipping down toward the rounded snout. Its belly is pink. The male has a small nub of a "tail," which is actually not a real tail at all. It looks almost identical to the coastal tailed frog, except that the Rocky Mountain species has a bit more webbing between the toes of its hind feet and its tadpoles do not have the white-spotted tail tip that many of the coastal species' tadpoles do. Adults of both the Rocky Mountain tailed frog and the coastal species usually grow to 1.2 to 2.0 inches (30 to 50 millimeters) long from snout to rump.

In the wild, Rocky Mountain tailed frogs may live to be 15 to 20 years old. (Illustration by Dan Erickson. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: This species is found in the northwestern United States, including Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington and in British Columbia in Canada.

Habitat: Rocky Mountain tailed frogs live in mountain forests near and often in small, clear, rocky-bottomed streams with fast currents.

Diet: They eat insects and other invertebrates they catch in the water or on land nearby. They look for food at night. Tadpoles are vegetarians and use their small teeth to scrape algae (AL-jee), or microscopic plantlike organisms, off underwater rocks.

Behavior and reproduction: Active mainly at night, they spend their days hidden under rocks along the shoreline. They mate in the fall, and each female lays 45 to 75 eggs in the water the following summer. The eggs hatch into tadpoles, which may remain in that state for up to five years. Finally, the tadpoles turn into froglets, and another seven or eight years later, they are adults. In the wild, the frogs may live to be 15 to 20 years old.

Rocky Mountain tailed frogs and people: Scientists find both species of tailed frogs interesting because they have some features of the earliest known frogs that hopped the Earth at the time of the dinosaurs, and they mate differently from most other frogs alive today.

Conservation status: The Rocky Mountain tailed frog is not considered to be at risk. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, however, lists it as Endangered, which means that it may soon disappear. Organizations in British Columbia have begun protecting the frog's habitat, including land in the Wycliffe Wildlife Corridor in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. ∎



Corkran, Charlotte. Amphibians of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Auburn, WA: Lone Pine Publishing, 1996.

Nussbaum, R. A., E. D. Brodie, and R. M. Storm. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. Moscow: University of Idaho Press, 1983.

Stebbins, Robert C. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians (Peterson Field Guide Series). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Wright, A. H., and A. A. Wright. Handbook of Frogs and Toads of the United States and Canada. Ithaca, NY: Comstock, 1949.

Web sites:

"I Only Have Eyes for You." All About Frogs. http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/general/eyes.html (accessed on February 7, 2005).

Mierzwa, Ken. "In Search of Tailed Frogs." Ken Mierzwa. http://kmier.net/ecology/tailed.html (accessed on January 31, 2005).

"Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog." The Land Conservancy. http://www.conservancy.bc.ca/sectioncontent.php?sectionid=55&pageid=380 (accessed on January 31, 2005).

"Tailed Frog." Yahooligans Animals. http://yahooligans.yahoo.com/content/animals/species/4281.html (accessed on January 31, 2005).

Thompson, Don. "Frogs Provide Clues to Calif. Environment." Kansas City Star (Monday, November 10, 2003). http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/7227129.htmMon, Nov. 10, 2003 (accessed on February 7, 2005).

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over 10 years ago

this is a very nice learning educational site..:)