Rana (genus)

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Rana aurora 6230.JPG
Northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae
Genus: Rana
Linnaeus, 1758
  • Pseudoamolops Jiang et al., 1997

and see text

Rana is a genus of frogs commonly known as the Holarctic true frogs, pond frogs or brown frogs. Members of this genus are found through much of Eurasia and western North America. Many other genera were formerly included here.[1][2] 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" as 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.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

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.


Rana species feed mainly on insects and invertebrates, but swallow anything they can fit into their mouths,[citation needed] including small vertebrates. Among their predators are egrets, crocodiles, and snakes.


Some 50 to 100 extant species are now placed in this genus by various authors; many other species formerly placed in Rana are now placed elsewhere. Frost[3] restricted Rana to the Old World true frogs and the Eurasian brown and pond frogs of the common frog R. temporaria group,[4] although other authors disagreed with this arrangement.[5][6][2][7] In 2016, a consortium of Rana researchers from throughout Europe, Asia, and North America revised the group, and reported that the arrangement of Frost (2006) resulted in nonmonophyletic groups.[8] Yuan et al. (2016)[9] included all the North American ranids within Rana, and used subgenera for the well-differentiated species groups within Rana. Both of these classifications are presented below.

Genera recently split from Rana are Babina, Clinotarsus (including Nasirana), Glandirana, Hydrophylax, Hylarana, Lithobates, Odorrana (including Wurana), Pelophylax, Pulchrana, Sanguirana, and Sylvirana. Of these, Odorrana and Lithobates are so closely related to Rana proper, they could conceivably be included here once again. The others seem to be far more distant relatives, in particular Pelophylax.[1][2]

New species are still being described in some numbers. A number of extinct species are in the genus, including Rana basaltica, from Miocene deposits in China.[10]


The following species are recognised in the genus Rana:[11]

Alternative classifications[edit]

AmphibiaWeb includes the following species, arranged in subgenera:

Subgenus Amerana (Pacific brown frogs)

Subgenus Aquarana (North American water frogs)

Subgenus Lithobates (neotropical true frogs)

Subgenus Liuhurana

Subgenus Pantherana (leopard, pickerel and gopher frogs)

Subgenus Pseudorana (Weining brown frog)

Subgenus Rana (Eurasian brown frogs)

Subgenus Zweifelia (Mexican torrent frogs)

Incertae sedis (no assigned subgenus)

Notes on other taxonomic arrangements:

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. The latter 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.[12]


  1. ^ a b Cai, Hong-xia; Che, Jing; Pang, Jun-feng; Zhao, Er-mi; Zhang, Ya-ping (2007). "Paraphyly of Chinese Amolops (Anura, Ranidae) and phylogenetic position of the rare Chinese frog, Amolops tormotus" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1531: 49–55. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.1531.1.4.
  2. ^ a b c Stuart, Bryan L (2008). "The phylogenetic problem of Huia (Amphibia: Ranidae)". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 46 (1): 49–60. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.09.016. PMID 18042407.
  3. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2006): Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 4, 2006-Aug-17.
  4. ^ Lithobates, American Museum of Natural History.
  5. ^ Hillis, D. M.; Wilcox, T. P. (2005). "Phylogeny of the New World true frogs (Rana)". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 34 (2): 299–314. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.10.007. PMID 15619443.
  6. ^ Hillis, D. M. (2007). "Constraints in naming parts of the Tree of Life". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 42 (2): 331–338. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.08.001. PMID 16997582.
  7. ^ Pauly, Greg B.; Hillis, David M.; Cannatella, David C. (2009). "Taxonomic freedom and the role of official lists of species names" (PDF). Herpetologica. 65 (2): 115–128. doi:10.1655/08-031r1.1. S2CID 283839.
  8. ^ Yuan, Z.-Y.; et al. (2016). "Spatiotemporal diversification of the true frogs (genus Rana): A historical framework for a widely studied group of model organisms". Systematic Biology. 65 (5): 824–42. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syw055. PMID 27288482.
  9. ^ Yuan, Z.-Y.; Zhou, W.-W.; Chen, X.; Poyarkov, N. A.; Chen, H.-M.; Jang-Liaw, N.-H.; Chou, W.-H.; Iizuka, K.; Min, M.-S.; Kuzmin, S. L.; Zhang, Y.-P.; Cannatella, D. C.; Hillis, D. M.; Che, J. (2016). "Spatiotemporal diversification of the true frogs (genus Rana): A historical framework for a widely studied group of model organisms". Systematic Biology. 65 (5): 824–42. doi:10.1093/sysbio/syw055. PMID 27288482.
  10. ^ Young, C. C. (1936). "A Miocene fossil frog from Shantung". Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition). 15 (2): 189–193. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6724.1936.mp15002003.x.
  11. ^ "Rana Linnaeus, 1758 | Amphibian Species of the World". research.amnh.org. Retrieved 2020-01-16.
  12. ^ Matsui, Masafumi (2007). "Unmasking Rana okinavana Boettger, 1895 from the Ryukyus, Japan (Amphibia: Anura: Ranidae)". Zool. Sci. 24 (2): 199–204. doi:10.2108/zsj.24.199. PMID 17409733. S2CID 1488589.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dubois, A.; Ohler, A. (1995). Ogielska, M. (ed.). "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". Zoologica Poloniae. II International Symposium on Ecology and Genetics of European water frogs, 18–25 September 1994, Wroclaw, Poland. 39 (3–4): 139–204.

External links[edit]