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Amphibians of Washington


Rocky Mountain tailed frog
(Ascaphus montanus)

 

What they look like

  • 2.5-5cm
  • Coloration usually matches the rocks they live in, can be brown, gray, green, red or yellow
  • Have a triangle on nose and a darkish eye stripe
  • Males have a ‘tail’ which is actually the male reproductive organ
  • Granular roughish skin

Where they live

  • Recent evidence has separated this species from Ascaphus truei and a separate GAP map has not been made
  • In Washington State are found in the Blue mountains of Eastern Washington
  • Rocky forest streams, prefer fast moving clear water, rarely found away from water and only on really wet nights

Breeding

  • Breeding season is in the Fall and eggs are laid in the Spring/Summer
  • Eggs are laid in strings underneath big rocks
  • Tadpoles have a large sucker mouth to cling to rocks in fast water streams
  • Can take 4-5 years for tadpoles to complete metamorphosis

Cool Biology Facts

  • One of the most primitive of all frogs and their closest living relatives are in New Zealand!
  • One of the longest living species of frogs can live up to 15-20 years!
  • One of the only frogs in the world that have internal fertilization
  • Males do not vocalize, possibly because the females cannot hear calls over fast moving water in streams
  • They have reduced lungs (breath mostly through skin) which helps to limit buoyancy in water.
  • Fingertips are hardened like claws to help move around in the rocks on the fast moving water.

Photo

Distribution Map

Threats

Main threats include habitat destruction due to logging and roads.