Comparative escape behavior of adult green frogs (Rana clamitans) and northern leopard frogs (R. pipiens)

TitleComparative escape behavior of adult green frogs (Rana clamitans) and northern leopard frogs (R. pipiens)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1990
AuthorsHayes FE
JournalBulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society
Volume26
Issue3
Pagination81-99
KeywordsVERTEBRATES
Abstract

I studied and compared the escape behavior of adult green frogs (Rana clamitans) and northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) in Michigan, USA. When approached by a potential predator, R. pipiens, which frequented land more than R. clamitans, was more likely to escape toward land, especially when approached from water. R. clamitans preferred to jump into the water regardless of the manner approached. R. clamitans was more likely to dive than R. pipiens when approached by land; R. pipiens was more likely to dive when approached from water or pursued. Because both species were more likely to escape toward water and dive when pursued than when casually approached, jumping and swimming appeared to be the preferred methods of escape; frogs dived only when necessary. The species-specific escape responses of frogs varied according to the approach of the predator, independent of the habitat (land or water) occupied by the frogs prior to approach. Interspecific differences in habitat preferences were not accompanied by appreciable differences in body size, relative hind limb length or jumping ability. Morphological similarity may have accounted for similarities in jumping and diving ability. The more disruptive coloration and less extensive webbing on the hind feet of R. pipiens were consistent with its more terrestrial habits.