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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California





Breeding, Eggs, and Tadpoles  of
California Red-legged Frog - Rana draytonii

Baird and Girard, 1852
 










observation link

 
Mating Adults in Amplexus
California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog    
Male and female in amplexus and a second male that is probably trying to
chase off the other male, Contra Costa County © Grayson B. Sandy
   
       
Mating Adults - Interspecific Amplexus
Female California Red-legged Frogs are larger than males, and the larger a female frog or toad is, the more fertile they appear to the males. So it is common for males to prefer to amplex large juvenile American Bullfrogs or large California Toads when they encounter them in a pond during the breeding season. This can lead to a reduction in the numbers of California Red-legged Frogs in a pond if the males waste their opportunity to breed with a female of their own species.
You can read more information about this troubling conservation issue here.
California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog
Two male red-legged frogs in amplexus with California Toads.

Adult male in amplexus with a
California Toad
, Contra Costa County.

Adult male in amplexus with a California Toad,  Contra Costa County.


California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog
Adult male in amplexus with a California Toad, being mobbed by other male toads, Contra Costa County. Male California Red-legged Frog in breeding amplexus with an
American Bullfrog
in Santa Cruz County.
© Michael G. Starkey
       
Eggs Laid in Water
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs
Eggs covered with silt,
Contra Costa County
Eggs covered with silt,
Contra Costa County
Eggs, Contra Costa County Eggs, Contra Costa County
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs
Fresh eggs, early February, Contra Costa County © Mark Gary Egg mass, Sonoma County
© Bill Stagnaro
Eggs, Sonoma County
© Bill Stagnaro
Eggs, Sonoma County
© Bill Stagnaro
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs
Egg mass, Sonoma County
© Bill Stagnaro
Eggs in a pond in mid March, Contra Costa County. © Mark Gary Eggs in a pond in mid March, Contra Costa County. © Mark Gary Developing eggs in a pond in mid March, Contra Costa County. © Mark Gary
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs
Eggs in a pond in mid March, Contra Costa County. © Mark Gary Egg masses in Alameda County © Joseph E. DiDonato. Eggs in a pond, Alameda County
© 2000 Joyce Gross
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs california toad eggs california toad eggs
Freshly-laid egg mass, late February, Contra Costa County There are three types of frog eggs in this Contra Costa County pond in mid March:
the large mass on top is from a California Red-legged Frog,
the long strings of eggs are from the California Toad,
and the small balls of eggs are from the Sierran Treefrog.

© Mark Gary
There are four types of amphibian eggs in this Alameda County pond in late Fegruary:
On the top left near the surface is a Sierran Treefrog egg mass.
To the right and slightly below that is a California Newt egg mass.
Below these small egg masses are several recently-hatched California Toad egg strings (no longer eggs, really.)
And the large egg mass in the bottom right corner of the picture is from a
California Red-legged Frog.

© Mark Gary
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog    
Eggs in pond habitat (bottom middle)
Contra Costa County
Silt-covered egg sac in a creek in Santa Barbara County © Max Roberts    
       
This Series of Pictures Shows the Close-up Development of Rana draytonii Eggs Over a Period of 22 Days
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
February 5
Freshly laid
February 11 February 15  
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs    
February 19 February 27
Eggs are about to hatch
   
       
This Series of Pictures Shows the Development of a Rana draytonii Egg Mass in a Contra Costa County Pond Over a Period of 15 Days
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
March 11
(Eggs are 3 or 4 days old.)
(On the bottom left you can see an egg sac from a Sierran Treefrog.)
All © Mark Gary
March 14 March 19  
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
March 21
March 23 March 26
Eggs are all hatched.
A few tiny tadpoles are visible.
 
       
This Series of Pictures Shows the Development of another Rana draytonii Egg Mass in a Contra Costa County Pond Over a Period of 15 Days
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
March 19
Eggs are no more than 5 days old.
All © Mark Gary
March 21 March 23  
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs  
California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Eggs
March 26 March 28 April 3
All tadpoles have hatched
Recently-hatched Tadpole
       
Tadpoles
California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole
Tadpole, Monterey County, on top, with CA Tiger Salamander larva on bottom. Tadpole, Monterey County
© 2004 William Leonard
Mature tadpole in water at edge of pond, Contra Costa County. Mature tadpole in a pond, Contra Costa County.
California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole
California Red-legged frog tadpole Top - CA Red-legged frog tadpole.
Bottom - Sierran Treefrog tadpole
Right - CA Red-legged frog tadpole.
Left - Sierran Treefrog tadpole
Recently deceased mature tadpole in a pond, Contra Costa County.
The eyes of the tadpoles of Rana draytonii are inset from the margins of the head when seen from above, while the eyes of the tadpoles of the sympatric Sierran Treefrog - Pseudacris sierra and the Baja California Treefrog - Pseudacris hypochondriaca extend to the margins of the head, as you can see in the above photos from Alameda Counthy. © Joseph E. DiDonato.  
California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole California Red-legged Frog Tadpole
California Red-legged Frog tadpole, Santa Clara County © Rob Schell
Mature California Red-legged Frog tadpoles and recently transformed juvenile frog, Santa Barbara County
© Vince Semonsen
tadpoles tadpoles
Comparisons of a California Red-legged Frog tadpole and a Foothill Yellow-legged Frog tadpole, both from Santa Clara County. © Owen Holt
California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog
Tadpole, Santa Cruz County
© Neil Keung 
Animal capture and handling authorized under Federal permits and State Parks permits.

Four-legged tadpole almost ready to leave the water,
Contra Costa County, mid July. © Mark Gary
Unusually orange-colored tadpole undergoing metamorphosis, San Mateo County © John Kunna
Short Videos
California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog California Red-legged Frog Eggs California Red-legged Frog Tadpoles
Two male California Red-legged Frogs are seen here in a Contra Costa County pond in March in amplexus with California Toads (possibly female.) Male toads attempt to wrestle the frogs off their prospective mates. When they grab the frogs, the frogs give their low chuckling release call, while the toads make their peeping release call. The video also starts and ends with the frog release calls. More shots of male California Red-legged frogs in amplexus with California Toads. A brief look at two masses of fresh red-legged frog eggs in a small pond. Quick looks at a few large California red-legged frog tadpoles in a couple of small ponds. It's hard to get good pictures of these tadpoles because I'm not allowed to catch them. The one shown above was actually injured and dying floating at the edge of a pond, so I was able to get it in focus, at least.


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