Rana sylvatica

Rana (genus)

Rana is a genus of frogs. Species include such archetypal pond frogs as the Common Frog of Europe, brown frogs, and the New World true frogs including the leopard frog. Members of this genus are found through much of Eurasia, North America, Central America, and the northern half of South America. Many other genera were formerly included here; see below for details.

These true frogs are usually largish species characterized by their slim waists and wrinkled skin; many have thin ridges running along their backs but they generally lack "warts" like in typical toads. They are excellent jumpers due to their long slender legs. The typical webbing found on their hind feet allows for easy movement through water. Coloration is mostly greens and browns above, with darker and yellowish spots.

Many frogs in this genus breed in early spring, although subtropical and tropical species may breed throughout the year. Males of most of the species are known to call, but a few species are thought to be voiceless. Females lay eggs in rafts or large globular clusters and can produce up to 20,000 at one time.


There are now some 90 species placed in this genus; many other species formerly placed in Rana are now placed elsewhere. Rana is now restricted to the New World true frogs and the Eurasian brown and pond frogs of the Common Frog R. temporaria group. The validity and delimitation of the subgenera is somewhat disputed.

Genera recently split from Rana are Babina, Clinotarsus (including Nasirana), Glandirana, Hydrophylax, Hylarana, Odorrana (including Wurana), Pelophylax, Pulchrana, Sanguirana and Sylvirana. Of these, Odorrana is so closely related to Rana proper that it could conceivably be included here once again. The others seem to be far more distant relatives, in particular Pelophylax.

New species are still being described in some numbers.


The Harpist Brown Frog, Kampira Falls Frog or Yaeyama Harpist Frog was formerly known as R. psaltes; it was subsequently identified as the long-known R. okinavana. That name has been misapplied to the Ryūkyū Brown Frog but the Harpist Brown Frog is a rather distinct species that apparently belongs in Babina or Nidirana if these are considered valid.



  • (2007): Paraphyly of Chinese Amolops (Anura, Ranidae) and phylogenetic position of the rare Chinese frog, Amolops tormotus. Zootaxa 1531: 49–55. PDF abstract and first page text
  • (1995) Frogs of the subgenus Pelophylax (Amphibia, Anura, genus Rana): a catalogue of available and valid scientific names, with comments on the name-bearing types, complete synonymies. proposed common names, and maps showing all type localities. In: : II International Symposium on Ecology and Genetics of European water frogs, 18-25 September 1994, Wroclaw, Poland. Zoologica Poloniae 39(3-4): 139-204
  • (2006): Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference Version 4, 2006-AUG-17.
  • (2007) Constraints in naming parts of the Tree of Life. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 42: 331–338. PDF fulltext
  • (2005): Phylogeny of the New World true frogs (Rana). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 34(2): 299–314. PDF fulltext
  • (2007): Unmasking Rana okinavana Boettger, 1895 from the Ryukyus, Japan (Amphibia: Anura: Ranidae). Zool. Sci. 24: 199–204. (HTML abstract)
  • (2008): The phylogenetic problem of Huia (Amphibia: Ranidae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 46(1): 49-60. (HTMl abstract)

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