Rana Linnaeus, 1758

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Ranidae > Genus: Rana
52 species

Rana Linnaeus, 1758, Syst. Nat., Ed. 10, 1: 210. Type species: Rana temporaria Linnaeus, 1758, by subsequent designation of Fleming, 1822, Philos. Zool., 2: 304.

Ranaria Rafinesque, 1814, Specchio Sci., 2, 2: 102. Substitute name for Rana Linnaeus, 1758.

Crotaphitis Schulze, 1891, Jahresber. Abhandl. Naturwiss. Ver. Magdeburg, 1890: 176. Type species: Rana arvalis Nilsson, 1907, by subsequent designation of Dubois and Ohler, 1996 "1994", Zool. Polon., 39: 183. The earlier designation of Rana temporaria Linnaeus, 1758, by Stejneger, 1907, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 58: 93, was in error inasmuch as Rana temporaria was not among the species included by Schulze, 1891. Synonymy by Nikolskii, 1918, Fauna Rossii, Zemnovodnye: 7.

Pseudoamolops Jiang, Fei, Ye, Zeng, Zhen, Xie, and Chen, 1997, Cultum Herpetol. Sinica, 6–7: 67. Type species: Not designated. Considered a subgenus of AmolopsDubois, Crombie, and Glaw, 2005, Alytes, 23: 45, noted that this name is unavailable for reason that a type species was not designated.

Pseudoamolops Fei, Ye, and Jiang, 2000, Acta Zool. Sinica, 46: 21, 25. Type species: Rana sauteri Boulenger, 1909, by original designation. Synonymy with Rana by Frost, 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: 141; Matsui, Shimada, Liu, Maryati, Khonsue, and Orlov, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 38: 659-666; Che, Pang, Zhao, Wu, Zhao, and Zhang, 2007, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 43: 3. Synonymy corroborated by Wiens, Sukumaran, Pyron, and Brown, 2009, Evolution, 63: 1217-1231.

English Names

True Frogs (Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 176; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 104; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 13).

Brown Frogs (Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 10; (Liner and Casas-Andreu, 2008, Herpetol. Circ., 38: 21; Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 33; Frost, McDiarmid, Mendelson, and Green, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 20; Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 18).

Pacific True Frogs (Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 9).

Wood Frogs (Li, Zhao, and Dong, 2010, Amph. Rept. Tibet: 33).


Temperate Eurasia into Indochina.


There has been considerable change in the taxonomy of Rana and ranines in the last 20 years. Particularly relevant literature is noted below. See Ranidae account for relevant literature as well. The summary of Asian "Rana" (now parsed into many new genera and several families) by Boulenger, 1920, Rec. Indian Mus., 20: 1–226, remains useful. Dubois, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 225–284, presented a generic and subgeneric arrangement of the ranines which has largely been superseded. Dubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 305–352, provided a system of sections, subgenera (33), and species groups that criticized by subsequent authors (see in particular Inger, 1996, Herpetologica, 52: 241–246; Frost, 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: 1–370), who noted a number of problems in the diagnoses of Dubois' subgenera, particularly Eburana (now part of Odorrana), Hylarana, and Pulchrana. Farris, Kluge, and Mickevich, 1982, Syst. Zool., 31: 479–490, and Farris, Kluge, and Mickevich, 1979, Syst. Zool., 28: 627–634, disputed the phylogenetic arrangement of North American Rana (now Rana plus Lithobates) proposed by Case, 1978, Syst. Zool., 27, and Post and Uzzell, 1981, Syst. Zool., 30: 170–180, noting that the Rana boylii group was probably a paraphyletic group from which the Rana temporaria group was derived. This suggestion was rejected by Uzzell and Post, 1986, Syst. Zool., 35: 414–421. Macey, Strasburg, Brisson, Vredenburg, Jennings, and Larson, 2001, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 19: 131–143, reported on the molecular phylogeny of a monophyletic Rana boylii group. The Rana boylii group of most North American authors is equivalent to the Section Amerana of Dubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 322, which in his system contained two subgenera, Amerana (Rana boylii and Rana muscosa) and Aurorana (Rana aurora, Rana cascadae, and Rana pretiosa). Hillis and Wilcox, 2005, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 34: 305, demonstrated that Aurorana (in the sense of Dubois, 1992) is paraphyletic with respect to pieces of a polyphyletic Amerana. Orlova, Bakharev, and Borkin, 1977, Trudy Zool. Inst. Akad. Nauk SSSR, Leningrad, 74: 81–101, reported on karyology and taxonomy of the Rana temporaria group. Pope and Boring, 1940, Peking Nat. Hist. Bull., 15: 48–63, provided a key and reviewed many of the Chinese species. Liu, 1950, Fieldiana, Zool. Mem., 2: 253–322, reviewed the species of western China. Liu and Hu, 1961, Tailless Amph. China: 137–217, reviewed Chinese species and indicated phylogenetic arrangement by recognizing groups. Mensi, Lattes, Macario, Salvidio, Giacoma, and Balletto, 1992, Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 105: 293–311, studied phylogenetic relationships within the European members of the Rana temporaria group. Japanese species discussed by Maeda and Matsui, 1990, Frogs Toads Japan, Ed. 2. Veith, Kosuch, and Vences, 2003, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 26: 310–327, reported on the phylogenetics of the Western Palearctic members of the Rana temporaria group. Green and Borkin, 1993, Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 109: 1–25, reported on karyological evolution within the group. Xie, Fei, and Ye, 2000, Cultum Herpetol. Sinica, 8: 74–80, reported on the phylogenetics of the Rana japonica group in China (Rana zhenhaiensis, Rana chevronta, Rana chaochiaoensis, and Rana omeimontis). Pseudoamolops was suggested by Fei, Ye, and Jiang, 2000, Acta Zool. Sinica, 46: 21, 25, to be the sister taxon of other members of the Amolopinae (Amo, Amolops, Huia, and Meristogenys) and derived with respect to a paraphyletic "Hylarana". Hillis and Wilcox, 2005, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 34: 311, provided a study of American Rana and phylogenetic applications of the names Amerana Dubois, 1992, Rana Linnaeus, 1758, and Laurasiarana Hillis and Wilcox, 2005. Hillis, 2007, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 42: 331–338, suggested that Laurasiarana Hillis and Wilcox, 2005, is valid within Linnaean nomenclature, although Dubois, 2007, Cladistics, 23: 392, documented its status as a nomen nudum. Pauly, Hillis, and Cannatella, 2009, Herpetologica, 65: 115–128, attempted for the third time to consider Lithobates (and by implication Pseudorana) as parts of Rana; this was discussed and rejected by Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2009, Herpetologica, 65: 136–153. See comment under Lithobates. Lu, Li, and Jiang, 2007, Acta Zootaxon. Sinica, 32: 792–801, provided a good discussion of the state of the literature of Chinese Brown Frogs (Rana amurensis, Rana chensinensis, and Rana longicrus groups). Che, Pang, Zhao, Matsui, and Zhang, 2007, Zool. Sci., Tokyo, 24: 71–80, reported on the molecular phylogenetics of Chinese brown frogs. Wiens, Sukumaran, Pyron, and Brown, 2009, Evolution, 63: 1217–1231, corroborated the monophyly of this taxon (sensu Frost et al., 2006), and found it to be the sister taxon of Lithobates, but did not employ this taxonomy. Yan, Jiang, Chen, Fang, Jin, Li, Wang, Murphy, Che, and Zhang, 2011, Asian Herpetol. Res., Ser. 2, 2: 61–71, discussed mtDNA relationships among members of the Rana longicrus group. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583, confirmed the monophyly of this taxon and its placement as the sister taxon of Lithobates (but this is difficult to appreciate given the authors' adoption of a nonmonophyletic and antiquated taxonomy), and provided a tree of exemplars. Powell, Collins, and Hooper, 2011, Key Herpetofauna U.S. & Canada, 2nd Ed.: 51–53, provided a key to the species of the United States and Canada. Yuan, Zhou, Chen, Poyarkov, Chen, Jang-Liaw, Chou, Matzke, Iizuka, Min, Kuzmin, Zhang, Cannatella, Hillis, and Che, 2016, Syst. Biol., 65: 824–842, discussed biogeography and redelimited Rana to include Pseudorana as a subgenus, the sister taxon of unnamed taxon composed of two subsidiary taxa: a) an unnamed monophyletic group composed of the subgenera Rana, Amerana, and Liuhurana, and an unnamed taxon composed of  Lithobates, Aquarana, and Boreophrys of this catalog). Yang, Zhou, Min, Matsui, Dong, Li, and Fong, 2017, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 112: 148–157, reported on the molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of the Rana dybowskii species complex (Rana dybowskii, Rana pirica, and Rana uenoi). Blain and Arribas, 2017, Zootaxa, 4319: 510–530, reported on osteological differences among Iberian Rana, with species reference of Rana pyrenaica. Zhou, Wang, Zhu, Li, Yang, and Ma, 2017, PLoS One, 12(4: e0175113): 1–15, reported on molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of South China brown frogs, including the Rana japonica group and Rana maroershanensis. Wan, Lyu, Qi, Zhao, Li, and Wang, 2020, ZooKeys, 942: 141–158, discussed the phylogenetics of the Rana japonica and Rana johnsi groups, resulting in redelimitations. Chen, Qian, Miao, Qian, Yuan, Liu, Dai, Hu, and Chang, 2022, Animals, 12 (1250): 1–15, reported on comparative mitogenomics and phylogeny of Rana (in the sense of including Rana and Lithobates of this catalogue, but not including Pseudorana). See comments under Amerana, Lithobates, and Aquarana for additional access to literature. 

Contained taxa (52 sp.):

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