Agile frog (Rana dalmatina)

7 December 2015
Rana-dalmatina-Foto

The agile frog is a monotypical species, living in the Mediterranean countries, in the Balkans and in the Central Europe. [3, 4] The most northern populations were mentioned for Sweden and Denmark. [5]

The Geographic Range of Rana dalmatina in Europe [5

The Geographic Range of Rana dalmatina in Europe [5]

In Romania, the species can be encounters at low altitudes (0 to 800 meters ASL), mainly in the Central and Western parts of the country. [3, 4]

The Geographic Range of Rana dalmatina in Romania [2]

The Geographic Range of Rana dalmatina in Romania [2]

Morphology. It is a slim and elegant species. The length of its head is almost equal to its width. The snout is pointy, the nares are found at half way between the eyes and the tip of the snout and the inter-nasal space is larger than the inter-orbital space. The pupil is horizontal, the iris is golden red dotted with black spots, and the tympanic membrane is distinct. The fingers of the fore arms are club-shaped, the first finger being longer than the second. The hind legs are very long, the adult’s tybial-tarsal joint surpassing the snout when the leg is stretched forward. The toes have an interdigital membrane covering ½ – ¾ of their length. The subarticular tubercles are large and prominent while the inner metatarsal tubercle is small, oval and prominent. In this species, the tegument may be smooth or with scarce non-prominent glands. The dorsal-lateral fold is well developed, narrow, sometimes interrupted, forming an upper lining for the temporal macula. The belly is smooth, covered with fine granulations on the internal lower half of the thighs. The male differentiates from the female by more developed front limbs, a shorter body and a very well developed inter-digital membrane, having a straight or convex edge during reproductive season. Also, on the interior of the first finger of the fore paws are found two nuptial pads. In his species the vocal sacks are absent. [3, 4]

The color varies dorsally from yellowish grey, reddish yellow to grayish pink and brown. The back can be plain or dotted, seldom are found small black spots on the back and the sides. The dorsal-lateral folds are having lighter colors on the inner part and darker pigmentation on the external side. Between the shoulder blades there is a darker “Ʌ”- shaped mark (more or less distinct). The lumbar region is light yellow. The hind legs are having visible brown or dark-brow transversal stripes. In the temporal region a large distinct dark brown spot is found. The spot gets thinner towards the nares and continues towards the tip of the snout. The belly is milky white, on the inner part of the hind limbs the color becomes reddish-yellow with fine vermiculation. [3, 4]

Ecology. The agile frog is a terrestrial species encountered in deciduous forests habitats, from sea level to 800 m ASL. It is a mainly land species, going in the water only during mating seasons. [6] It is diurnal, during the night it hides under low bushes or under fallen leaves. It is the best jumper among the native species in our country, reaching lengths up to 2 meters and 1 m in height in one leap. It hibernates in mud under the water. [3, 4] It preys on invertebrates such as insects, caterpillars, spiders, crickets or grasshoppers, crustaceans etc.. [1]

Reproduction. The mating season lasts from March to April. The mating occurs during the night, in axillary amplexus. The fertilized eggs, between 700 and 1400, are left in ponds or puddles in the forest or very close to it, as a pile glued to an underwater branch or plant. The egg is dark brown. The metamorphosis lasts approximately 2 and a half months. [3, 4]

Legislation. In Romania, the species is protected by Law no. 13 of 1993 by which Romania ratified the Berne Convention (Annex II), by the EU Directive 92/43/EEC (Annex IV) as well as by Emergency Government Order no. 57/2007 on the regime of protected natural areas, conservation of natural habitats, wild flora and fauna, approved with amendments and additions (Annex IV A), being considered a community interest species requiring strict protection. [7, 8, 9]

According to the IUCN classification, at global level, the species is classified as least concern (LC), while in the Romanian Vertebrates Red List the species is classified as vulnerable (VU). [6, 10]

Bibliography

1. Cicort-Lucaciu A.S., Sas I., Roxin M., Badar L., Goilean C., (2011): The feeding study of a Rana dalmatina population from Carei Plain. South Western Journal of Horticulture, Biology and Environment 2(1): 35-46

2. Cogălniceanu D., Szekely P., Samoilă C., Iosif R., Tudor M., Plăiaşu R., Stănescu F., Rozylowicz L., (2013): Diversity and distribution of amphibians in Romania, Zookeys 296:25-57.

3. Fuhn  I. E.,  (1960):  Amphibia. In: Fauna  R.P.R.,  Vol.  XIV,  Fasc.  1, Editura  Academiei Republicii Populare Române, București. [in Ro]

4. Fuhn I.E., (1969): Broaște, șerpi, șopârle. Editura Științifică, București. [in Ro]

5. Gasc J.P., Cabela A., Crnobrnja-Isailovic, Domen D., Groessenbacher K., Haffner P., Lescure J., Martens H., Marinez Rica J.P., Maurin H., Oliveira M.E., Sofianidou T.S., Veith M., Zuiderwijk A., (1997): Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica & Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

6. Iftime A., (2005): Reptilia. In: Botnariuc & Tatole (eds): Cartea Roșie a Vertebratelor din România, Editura Academiei Române, București. [in Ro]

7. ***Legea 13 din 1993 prin care România ratifică Convenția de la Berna. [in Ro]

8. ***Directiva Europeana 92/43/EEC. [in Ro]

9. ***Ordonanța de Urgență a Guvernului nr. 57/2007 privind regimul ariilor naturale protejate, conservarea habitatelor naturale, a florei și faunei sălbatice, aprobată cu modificări și completări ulterioare. [in Ro]

10. *** www.iucnredlist.org

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