green frog

(Rana clamitans)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

green frog


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed


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


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


5 to 10 years


2¼ to 3½


This is a mid-sized, 2¼ to 3½ long, true frog. It is the second largest frog in Minnesota after only the American bullfrog. Females are only slightly larger than males.

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, northern green frog (Rana clamitans melanota).


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.


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

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.

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.


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.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 11, 12, 14, 24, 29, 73, 76.


This species is classified as Lithobates clamitans by many print and online sources. 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 other systematic reviews, and in 2009 North American true frogs were returned to their previous classification. Lithobates is once again a subgenus of Rana. ITIS37 and Amphibian Species of the World61 continue to use the 2006-08 classification. NCBI34 and UniProt33 use the new classification. AmphibiaWeb60 suggests using the original name followed by the subgenus name in parentheses, in this case Rana (Aquarana) clamitans.



Batrachia (amphibians)



Anura (frogs and toads)









Ranidae (true frogs)







Subordinate Taxa

bronze frog (Rana clamitans clamitans)

northern green frog (Rana clamitans melanota)


Lithobates clamitans


bronze 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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  green frog    
Brian Blom
  green frog    
Christa Rittberg
  green frog    Photos
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  Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)  
  Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)
Bill Keim
  Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)  
  Rana clamitans (Green Frog)
Allen Chartier
  Rana clamitans (Green Frog)  
  Rana clamitans (Green Frog)
John Clare
  Rana clamitans (Green Frog)  



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Other Videos
  Green Frog near Water Garden - September 28, 2014
Don Gagnon

Published on Sep 28, 2014

Green Frog (Rana clamitans), near Water Garden, Gagnon Wildlife Habitat, Somerset, Massachusetts, Saturday morning, September 28, 2014, 11:38 AM / 11:40 AM / 11:41 AM - Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70 00908 / 00910 / 00911; 1:00 min.

  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

  Northern Green Frog
Northwest Herper

Uploaded on Sep 2, 2011

The Northern Green Frog (Rana clamitans) is not a native speceis to BC they are mainly found throughout the Eastern United States but have adapted to living in ponds and wetlands here, along with the bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana) which is also a non-native speceis to BC. Adult Green Frogs resemble Bullfrogs, but are smaller and have distinct dorsolateral folds. Females lay eggs in a single layered mass on the water's surface, about 15 to 30 cm across. Each egg mass may contain up to 5000 eggs.




Visitor Sightings
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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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