Lithobates septentrionalis - (Baird, 1854)
Mink Frog
Synonym(s): Rana septentrionalis Baird, 1854
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lithobates septentrionalis (Baird, 1854) (TSN 775112)
French Common Names: grenouille du Nord
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100329
Element Code: AAABH01190
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Frogs and Toads
Image 11210

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Anura Ranidae Lithobates
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Rana septentrionalis
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 26Nov2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (08Apr2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Maine (S4), Michigan (S3S4), Minnesota (S5), New Hampshire (S3S4), New York (S5), Vermont (S3), Wisconsin (S3)
Canada Labrador (S5), Manitoba (S3), New Brunswick (S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Nunavut (SNR), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S5)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Medium) (26Jan2015)
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range extends from Labrador to southern Manitoba, and south to northern New England and northern Wisconsin (Conant and Collins 1991).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range.

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely more than 100,000. Abundant in suitable habitat in northern Wisconsin (Vogt 1981).

Overall Threat Impact: Low

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from Labrador to southern Manitoba, and south to northern New England and northern Wisconsin (Conant and Collins 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ME, MI, MN, NH, NY, VT, WI
Canada LB, MB, NB, NS, NU, ON, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004

Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Mink frogs are green to olive-gray, with dark spots or mottling on the back. Sometimes there is a ridge along each side of the back but usually it is absent. The webbing between the hind toes extends to the last joint of the 4th toe and to the tip of the 5th toe. Dark marks on the upper side of the hind legs form irregular blotches that are elongated along the long axis of each leg. These frogs have odorous skin that smells like a mink or crushed scallions. Maximum size is around 3 inches (7.6 cm) snout-vent length. The breeding call is a rapid, sharp "cut-cut-cut-ghrrr" or "tok-tok-tok-tok-tok;" a chorus may sound like distant hamemring or horse's hooves on a cobblestone road. Larvae are greenish or brown with dark spots or mottling that may extend onto the tail; the belly is yellowish and opaque; the tail tip is long and sharply pointed (if not damaged); maximum total length is about 4 inches (10 cm). Egg masses are globular, about 3-6 inches in diameter, and contain several hundred eggs.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding occurs in late spring and summer, mainly late May to early August (peak often June-July). Adult females deposit clutches of a few thousand eggs, June to August. The aquatic larval stage lasts 1-2 years. Individuals become sexually mature 1-2 years after metamorphosis.
Ecology Comments: The strong odor of mink frogs may serve as an anti-predator mechanism, but these frogs are nevertheless eaten by great blue herons, raccoon, and other animals.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, Riparian
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Mink frogs inhabit cold lakes and ponds and their shallow peripheral pools, and inlets and outlets of ponds and lakes, often among emergent or floating vegetation (e.g., lily pads) in open water or along shores. They are highly aquatic but sometimes venture away from water onto land during very wet weather. Hibernation sites are underwater. Eggs and larvae develop in permanent lakes and ponds. Eggs are attached to submerged vegetation but may later sink to the bottom.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Metamorphosed frogs eat various small invertebrates obtained mostly among aquatic plants in open water. Larvae probably eat algae, plant tissue, and organic debris.
Adult Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Most activity occurs from April to October.
Length: 8 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Ranid Frogs

Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Breeding Location
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy major highway, especially at night, such that frogs rarely if ever cross successfully; urban development dominated by buildings and pavement; habitat in which site-specific data indicate the frogs virtually never occur.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: BARRIERS/UNSUITABLE HABITAT: Rivers may or may not be effective barriers, depending on stream width and flow dynamics; identification of streams as barriers is a subjective determination. Ranid frog species vary in habitat use, but even the most aquatic species may traverse upland habitat when conditions are suitable (Pope and Matthews 2001); natural and seminatural upland habitat generally does not constitute a barrier. Here, unsuitable habitat refers to upland habitat devoid or nearly devoid of wetlands, streams, ponds, or lakes. Bodies of water dominated by predatory fishes may be barriers to some species but suitable habitat for others; in most cases, such waters probably should be regarded as unsuitable habitat.

SUITABLE HABITAT: Suitable habitat includes riparian/riverine corridors, wetlands, and wetland/upland mosaics in which wetland patches are separated by less than 1 km of upland habitat; it also includes any upland habitat regularly used for feeding or wintering (e.g., mesic forest for wood frogs).

MOVEMENTS: Available information indicates that individual ranids occasionally move distances of several km (R. luteiventris: Reaser 1996, cited by Koch et al. 1997; R. blairi: Gillis 1975) but most individuals stay within a few kilometers of their breeding sites (R. aurora draytonii: USFWS, Federal Register, 11 September 2000; R. capito: Franz et al. 1988; R. clamitans: Lamoureux and Madison 1999; R. luteiventris: Turner 1960, Hollenbeck 1974, Bull and Hayes 2001). Similarly, maximum distance between capture points generally is a few kilometers or less (R. aurora: Hayes et al. 2001; USFWS, Federal Register, 11 September 2000; R. catesbeiana: Willis et al. 1956; R. luteiventris: Reaser and Pilliod, in press; Engle 2000; R. muscosa: Pope and Matthews 2001). Dispersal data for juveniles are lacking for most species.

Adult and juvenile R. sylvatica readily traveled in excess of 300 m from their pools of origin (Vasconcelos and Calhoun 2004). Bellis (1965) determined that adult and juvenile R. sylvatica in a peat bog had traveled at least 410 m from the nearest breeding pool. Berven and Grudzien (1990) found that dispersing R. sylvatica juveniles traveled an average of 1,208 m from their natal pools. In the Shenandoah Mountains, data for R. sylvatica indicated that ponds separated by a distance greater than 1,000 m should experience little gene flow (Berven and Grudzien 1991). In contrast, populations in Minnesota were very similar in allelic frequencies, even at distances greater than several kilometers (Squire and Newman 2002). However, sample sizes and number of loci examined were small, and genetic patterns do not necessarily reflect movement distances.

The preponderance of data for ranids indicate that a separation distance of several kilometers may be appropriate for suitable habitat and practical for occurrence delineation, despite occasional movements that are longer and that may allow some genetic interchange between distant populations. The movement data for ranids are here regarded as consistent enough to allow the same separation distance to be used for different species; much of the apparent variation in movements doubtless reflects differences in study methods and in the ability to detect long-distance movements.

Date: 01Apr2005
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Aquin, P. 1999. Évaluation de la situation des groupes taxonomiques d'amphibiens du Québec. Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune. 2 pages.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Bleakney, J. S. 1958. A zoogeographical study of the amphibians and reptiles of eastern Canada. National Museum of Canada, Bulletin No. 155, Biological Series No. 54, Ottawa, Ontario. 119 pp.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 616 pp.

  • Cook, F. R. 1967. An analysis of the herpetofauna of Prince Edward Island. National Museum of Canada, Bulletin No. 212, Biological Series No. 75, Ottawa, Ontario. 60 pp.

  • Cook, F. R. 1984. Introduction to Canadian amphibians and reptiles. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

  • Crother, B. I., editor. 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth Edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37. 94 pp.

  • DeGraaf, R. M., and D. D. Rudis. 1983a. Amphibians and reptiles of New England. Habitats and natural history. Univ. Massachusetts Press. vii + 83 pp.

  • Desroches, J.-F. et D. Rodrigue 2004. Amphibiens et reptiles du Québec et des Maritimes. Éditions Michel Quintin. 288 pages.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Frost, D. R. 2002. Amphibian Species of the World: an online reference. V2.21 (15 July 2002). Electronic database available at http://research.amnh.org/herpetology/amphibia/index.html.

  • Frost, D. R. 2010. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.4 (8 April 2010). Electronic Database accessible at http://research.amnh.org/herpetology/amphibia/index.php. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA.

  • Gilhen, J. 1984. Amphibians and reptiles of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 162 pp.

  • Hedeen, S.E. 1977. Rana septentionalis. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 202:1-2.

  • Kramek, W.C. 1972. Food of the frog, Rana septentrionalis in New York. Copeia. 1972(2):390-392.

  • Preston, W. B. 1982. The amphibians and reptiles of Manitoba. Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, Winnipeg, Manitoba. 128 pp.

  • Tenneson, M. 1982. The distribution and abundance of the mink frog in Itasca State Park, Minnesota. Final report submitted to The Department of Natural Resources. 35 pp.

  • Tenneson, M., and C. Wellenstein. 1983. Population decline of the mink frog, Rana septentrionalis (Anura:Ranidae) in northwest Minnesota. Final report submitted to The Department of Natural Resources. 20+ pp.

  • Tenneson, Michael. 1982. The Distribution and Abundance of The Mink Frog in Itasca State Park, Minnesota. Funded by the MN DNR, Section of Wildlife, Nongame Research Program. Results in unpublished report.

  • Vogt, R. C. 1981c. Natural history of amphibians and reptiles of Wisconsin. Milwaukee Public Museum. 205 pp.

  • Weller, W. F., and D. M. Green. 1997. Checklist and current status of Canadian amphibians. Pages 309-328 in D. M. Green editor. Amphibians in decline: Canadian studies of a global problem. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Herpetological Conservation 1.

  • Wright, A. H., and A. A. Wright. 1949. Handbook of frogs and toads of the United States and Canada. Comstock Publishing Company, Ithaca, New York. xii + 640 pp.

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