green frog

(Rana clamitans)

Conservation Status
green frog
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed


Green frog is a mid-sized, 2¼ to 3½ long, true frog. It is the second largest frog in Minnesota after only the American bullfrog.

The back (dorsal surface) is smooth to moderately rough and green or brownish-green. It usually has small, irregular, dark spots and is usually brighter colored toward the front. Prominent folds on each side of the back (dorsolateral folds) extend from just behind the disk-shaped membrane covering the ear opening (tympanum) to just over halfway down the back. Another ridge begins just behind the eye and curves downward behind the tympanum.

The side of the face is green. The tympanum on males is larger than the eye. On females it is about the same size as the eye.

The belly is white and often has dark mottling on the throat, jaw, and under the hind legs. Males have a single inflatable vocal sac. It is internal, not visible. The throat on mature males is yellow.

The hind legs have dark horizontal bands. The webbing on the hind feet extends to the tips of the first through third toes, to the second joint on the fourth toe, and not quite to the tip on the fifth toe.

The description above refers to the northern subspecies, green frog (Rana clamitans melanota).




2¼ to 3½



Listen to green frog

The mating call is usually described as the sound of plucking a loose banjo string, “plunk”. The call is a single note but is often repeated. It can be heard from May through July. No other frogs in Minnesota sound similar.


Similar Species

  American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is larger. It lacks a dorsolateral ridge.  

Semi-permanent or permanent wetlands: large marshes, streams, deep ponds, larger lakes, and roadside ditches.




Green frogs are often seen on a shore within one quick leap to a body of water. They hunt by sitting still and waiting for prey to cross their path.




5 to 10 years


Life Cycle


Adults emerge from hibernation from April to June. Males call from May to July. Mating takes place in late spring or early summer. After mating, the female lays a single floating mass of 1,000 to 5,000 eggs in water. The mass is flat and about 12 in diameter. The eggs hatch in 3 to 7 days, depending on temperature. Most tadpoles overwinter and metamorphose into adults the following spring. Males become sexually active one year after metamorphosis, females 2 or 3 years. Adults hibernate in the mud under debris, under stones, or under water that does not completely freeze.


Tadpole Food


Organic debris, algae, plant tissue, and minute organisms in the water.


Adult Food


Insects, crayfish, fish, snails, small snakes, other frogs—any animal that will fit in its mouth.


Distribution Map



7, 14, 24, 29, 73, 76.




Common in eastern United States. At the western edge of its range in Minnesota.

  Class Amphibia (amphibians)  
  Superorder Batrachia (amphibians)  
  Order Anura (frogs and toads)  
  Suborder Neobatrachia  
  Superfamily Ranoidea  


Ranidae (true frogs)  


Rana (Holarctic true frogs)  
  Subgenus Aquarana (North American water frogs)  

In 2006 most North American true frogs were transferred from the genus Rana to the genus Lithobates by Frost et al. The change was controversial and was not accepted by all authorities. In 2008 and 2009 the change was rejected by Stuart, Pauly et al., and by other systematic reviews. In 2016, a consortium of Rana researchers from Europe, Asia, and North America showed that transferring the species to Lithobates caused problems of paraphyly in other genera. In that same year, Yuan et al. returned all North American true frogs to the genus Rana, using subgenera for all of the well-defined species groups within Rana.

Most sources, including GBIF, ITIS, NatureServe, iNaturalist, and Amphibian Species of the World, use the name Lithobates clamitans. A few, including NCBI, UniProt, and AmphibiaWeb, use the name Rana clamitans. AmphibiaWeb suggests using the original name followed by the subgenus name in parentheses, in this case Rana (Aquarana) clamitans.


Subordinate Taxa


Some authorities, including AmphibiaWeb and NatureServe, recognize two subspecies: the southern subspecies, bronze frog; and the northern subspecies, green frog, also called northern green frog. ITIS, iNaturalist, and SSAR North American Species Names Database, do not recognize them.


bronze frog (Rana clamitans clamitans)

green frog (Rana clamitans melanota)




Lithobates clamitans


Common Names


bronze frog

brown frog

cow frog

green frog








Dorsolateral folds

Two parallel lines, one on each side of the back, of raised glandular skin between the back and the sides of most North American frogs of the family Ranidae.



The circular, disk-like membrane that covers the ear opening of some reptiles and amphibians.

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Tina Lonsky


… from our pond

    green frog   green frog  
    green frog      


    green frog      

Brian Blom

    green frog      

Christa Rittberg

    green frog      
    green frog   green frog  


    green frog   green frog  
    green frog      


    green frog      




Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)
Andree Reno Sanborn

  Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)  

Rana clamitans (Green Frog)
Allen Chartier

  Rana clamitans (Green Frog)  

Rana clamitans (Green Frog)
John Clare

  Rana clamitans (Green Frog)  



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Green Frog

Uploaded on Jul 31, 2011

Green Frog
(Rana clamitans)

Description: 2 1/8-4 1/4" (5.4-10.8 cm). Green, bronze or brown frog; large external eardrum and prominent dorsolateral ridges that do not reach groin. Typically green on upper lip. Belly white with darker pattern of lines or spots. Male has yellow throat and swollen thumbs.

Subspecies: Bronze (R. c. clamitans), brown or bronze; Carolinas to c. Florida and through the gulf coast states to e. Texas and s. Arkansas.

Northern Green (R. c. melanota), green or greenish-brown; s. Ontario east to Newfoundland, south to North Carolina, west to Oklahoma, and introduced into Canada, the West, and Hawaii.

Voice: Like the twang of a loose banjo string, usually given as a single note, but sometimes repeated rapidly several times.

Breeding: March to August. Eggs are usually laid in 3-4 small clutches attached to submerged vegetation.

Habitat: Lives close to shallow water, springs, swamps, brooks, and edges of ponds and lakes. May be found among rotting debris of fallen trees.

Range: Widespread throughout eastern North America.

Discussion: Primarily nocturnal. Green Frogs are not as wary as many other species of frog. They seldom scream in alarm when caught.

  Northern Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)

Published on Apr 30, 2012

  Green frogs - Rana clamitans (HD)
Bart B. Van Bockstaele

Uploaded on Oct 17, 2011

Two green frogs (Rana clamitans), a girl and a boy, shot at Brick Works Park in Toronto.

More information shortly on




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  Tina Lonsky

Location: St Michael, MN

… from our pond

green frog


Location: Near Courthouse Lake in Chaska, MN. (Carver County, MN.)

green frog

  Brian Blom

Location: Crow Wing County, Deerwood

green frog





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