California Red-Legged Frog: Rare Frog Species Survives


A rare frog species has been found recently by local wildlife authorities to survive a major wildfire, which occurred last year in California. Known as the Mosquito Fire, the said massive wildfire was the state’s largest wildfire in 2022. The blaze engulfed the Golden State’s El Dorado and Placer counties, spanning from early September to late October.

Thousands of people and their pets fled last year’s California wildfire, resulting in no human casualties. However, few animals died from the Mosquito Fire as it destroyed swathes of forest areas that serve as natural habitats for the state’s local wildlife. The discovery of the said surviving frog species, known as the California red-legged frog, means that the amphibian population in the affected areas may recover, along with vegetation.

Rare Frog Species Survives

Rare Frog Species

(Photo : Image by NoName_13 from Pixabay)

During a statement, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) revealed that even a year has passed since the Mosquito Fire ravaged through the American River Canyon and scorched California’s forests, grasses, and hillsides, a small population of the threatened California red-legged frog species survived. The fire burnt for 46 days starting September 6 last year, destroying homes and small businesses.

The rare frog species is commonly found in California’s coastal areas. It is also home to the Big Gun Conservation Bank in Michigan Bluff, California. The recent discovery of the surviving frogs is remarkable since the Mosquito Fire passed through one of Sierra Nevada’s robust frog populations, according to the FWS.

In response to promising population data of the California red-legged frogs, biologists from FWS and Taho National Forest are cooperating to find steps that would help the frogs expand to nearby forests in the country. The planned relocation or partial transfer of the frogs aims to diversify their population, in case another catastrophic event occurs.

Also Read: 5 Times in History That Frogs Fell From the Sky

California Red-Legged Frog

The California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) is native from California’s coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in an area of up to 5,000 feet and further southward to the Mexican province of Baja California, mainly in the northern part. The frog species live in marine or moist areas such as animal burrows, logs, and vegetation, according to the State of California Capitol Museum.

Furthermore, the California state amphibian can go dormant during hot weather with dry conditions. Ranging in size from 1.5 to 5 inches long, they are the largest native frog species in the Western United States, the California museum adds.

In addition to threats like wildfires, frog populations in the coastal areas of California and Baja California have been facing another danger: chytrid fungus. The said pathogen degrades the skin of amphibians, including frogs and toads, Cornell University reported.

The fungus threat on frogs is also prevalent in other parts of the world, including Africa, Europe, New Zealand, and Oceania, causing the disease known as chytridiomycosis among amphibians.

Related Article: Frogs in Central and South America Have Rare Ability in Changing Transparent Appearance

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