Lithobates onca (Cope in Yarrow, 1875)

Relict leopard frog



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Rana onca Cope, 1875


Conservation Status

Last record: 1950

Rediscovered in 1995 (Jennings et al., 1995)

IUCN RedList status: Endangered



Arizona, Nevada & Utah, USA


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Yarrow, H. C. 1875. Report upon the collections of batrachians and reptiles made in portions of Nevada, Utah, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona during the years 1871, 1872, 1872, and 1874. Wheeler, G. M. ed., Report upon Geographical and Geological Explorations and Surveys West of the One Hundredth Meridian in Charge of First Lieut. Geo. M. Wheeler, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Under the Direction of Brig. Gen. A. A. Humphryes, Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army. Volume 5 (Zoology), Part. 4: 511–584. Washington, D.C.

Other references:

Behler, J.L. and King, F.W. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York.

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

Bradford, D.F., Jaeger, J.R. and Jennings, R.D. 2004. Population status and distribution of a decimated amphibian, the relict leopard frog (Rana onca). Southwestern Naturalist: 218-228.

Bradford, D.F., Jennings, R.D. and Jaeger, J.R. 2005. Rana onca Cope, 1875(b); relict leopard frog. In: Lannoo, M.J. (ed.), Status and Conservation of U.S. Amphibians, pp. 567-568. University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

Jef Jaeger, David Bradford, Geoffrey Hammerson. (2004). Lithobates onca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T19178A8848232. Downloaded on 12 February 2017.

Jaeger, J. R., Riddle, B. R., Jennings, R. D. and Bradford, D. F. (2001). Rediscovering Rana onca: evidence for phylogenetically distinct leopard frogs from the border region of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. Copeia 2001: 339-354.

Jennings, M.R. 1988. Rana onca Cope, relict leopard frog. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles: 1-2.

Jennings, R.D., Riddle, B.R. and Bradford, D. (1995). Rediscovery of Rana onca, the relict leopard frog, in southern Nevada with comments on the systematic relationships of some leopard frogs (Rana pipiens complex) and the status of populations along the Virgin River. Unpublished report.

Oláh-Hemmings, Viktória et al. (2010). Phylogeography of declining relict and lowland leopard frogs in the desert Southwest of North America. Journal of Zoology 280(4): 343-354.

Saumure, Raymond A. et al. (2021). Leaping from extinction: Rewilding the relict leopard frog in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, pp. 76-81. In: Soorae, P. S. (ed.) (2021). Global conservation translocation perspectives: 2021. Case studies from around the globe. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN SSC Conservation Translocation Specialist Group, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and Calgary Zoo, Canada. xiv + 353 pp. 

Scheffers, Brett R., Yong, Ding Li, Harris, J. Berton C., Giam, Xingli and Sodhi, Navjot S. (2011). The world’s rediscovered species: back from the brink? PLoS ONE 6(7): e22531. [Supporting Information (Table S1)]

Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Stebbins, R. C. (2003). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.


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