Lithobates onca (Cope, 1875)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Ranidae > Genus: Lithobates > Species: Lithobates onca

Rana onca Cope In Yarrow, 1875, in Wheeler (ed.), Rep. Geograph. Geol. Explor. Surv. W. 100th Merid., 5(4): 528. Holotype: USNM 25331 according to Cochran, 1961, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 220: 76. Type locality: "Utah"; estimated as "somewhere along the Virgin River in Washington County", Utah, USA, by Tanner, 1929, Copeia, 171: 49; considered as "probably collected in the vicinity of St. George, [Washington County,] Utah", USA, by Pace, 1974, Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan, 148: 29.

Rana draytoni oncaCope, 1886, Proc. Am. Philos. Soc., 23: 521; Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 443.

Rana pipiens oncaWright and Wright, 1949, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada, Ed. 3: 506.

Rana onca oncaStebbins, 1985, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 2: 91, by implication; Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 238.

Rana (Rana) oncaDubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 41–42, by implication.

Rana (Pantherana) oncaDubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 331; Yuan, Zhou, Chen, Poyarkov, Chen, Jang-Liaw, Chou, Matzke, Iizuka, Min, Kuzmin, Zhang, Cannatella, Hillis, and Che, 2016, Syst. Biol., 65: 835.

Rana (Novirana, Sierrana, Pantherana, Scurrilirana) oncaHillis and Wilcox, 2005, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 34: 305. See Dubois, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 42: 317-330, Hillis, 2007, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 42: 331-338, and Dubois, 2007, Cladistics, 23: 390-402, for relevant discussion of nomenclature. Invalid name formulation under the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (1999) as discussed by Dubois, 2007, Cladistics, 23: 395.

Rana (Novirana) onca — Hillis and Wilcox, 2005, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 34: 305. This is the interpretation by Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 418, of the nomenclatural act of Hillis and Wilcox, 2005, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 34: 305. 

Lithobates oncaFrost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, Green, and Wheeler, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297: 369. Che, Pang, Zhao, Wu, Zhao, and Zhang, 2007, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 43: 1–13; by implication.

Lithobates (Lithobates) oncaDubois, 2006, C. R. Biol., Paris, 329: 830; Dubois, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 42: 325.

Rana (Scurrilirana) oncaHillis, 2007, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 42: 335–336, by implication and for purposes of discussion. 

Rana (Lithobates) onca — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 418. 

English Names

Relict Leopard Frog (Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 13; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 109; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 13; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 15; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 8; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 8; Frost, McDiarmid, Mendelson, and Green, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 18; Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 15).

Nevada Frog (Slevin, 1928, Occas. Pap. California Acad. Sci., 16: 126; Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: xi).


Originally in the seeps and springs in the valleys of the Colorado, Virgin, and Muddy rivers in extreme northwestern Arizona, and adjacent Nevada and southwestern Utah, USA; now restricted to the Lake Mead National Recreation area. 


In the Rana pipiens complex as defined by Hillis, Frost, and Wright, 1983, Syst. Zool., 32: 132–143. In the Rana (Pantherana) berlandieri group of Dubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 331. Reviewed by Jennings, 1988, Cat. Am. Amph. Rept., 417: 1–2, who suggested that this species is extinct. Neverthelss, its continued existence, systematic relations, and geographic distribution were discussed by Jaeger, Riddle, Jennings, and Bradford, 2001, Copeia, 2001: 339–351, who noted its close relationship to Rana yavapaiensis. Pfeiler and Markow, 2008, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 49: 343–348, reported evidence consistent with a close (or identical) relationship with Lithobates yavapaiensis. Stebbins, 2003, Field Guide W. Rept. Amph., Ed. 3: 238, provided a brief account, figure, and map (and who commented on the disappearance of this species from large areas of its former distribution). See map, description of geographic range and habitat, and conservation status (as Rana onca) in Stuart, Hoffmann, Chanson, Cox, Berridge, Ramani, and Young, 2008, Threatened Amph. World: 509. Bradford, Jennings, and Jaeger, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 567–568, and Dodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 2 : 565–568, provided account that summarized relevant literature  on biology, range, and conservation, and described the shrinking range. Oláh-Hemmings, Jaeger, Sredl, Schlaepfer, Jennings, Drost, Bradford, and Riddle, 2010, J. Zool., London, 280: 343–354, reported on the molecular phylogeography of Lithobates onca and Lithobates yavapaiensisElliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 228–229, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. 

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