A Guide to California's
Reptiles and Amphibians

Sounds of
Columbia Spotted Frog - Rana luteiventris

Thompson, 1913
Click the speaker icon to listen to an mp3 sound file.

Columbia Spotted Frog

Columbia Spotted Frogs

More pictures of this frog and its habitat:

Eggs and Breeding


California, including species account

Male frogs and toads sometimes make a variety of sounds. These calls can have different functions.

Advertisement Calls

The advertisement call is the most well-known call of a frog or toad. It is made by a male during the breeding season to establish his territory and repel rival males and to attract females as potential mates. Males usually make the call in or near bodies of water near areas that are attractive to a female as a good place to lay her eggs. Advertisement calls can be heard during the evening and at night, and often during daylight at the peak of the breeding season. Sometimes an advertisement call will be heard outside of the breeding season and away from water. The reason for this is not understood.

Each species has its own unique advertisement call. This is necessary to differentiate them when there is more than one species calling. The evolution of this specific male advertisement call and its recognition by females is considered to be an important isolating mechanism in the evolution of a species.

The Columbia Spotted Frog typically calls in the air on warm sunny days during the breeding season. This frog also calls underwater. The in-air advertisement call is a series of low-volume knocking sounds which can be slow or quick in succession.

Columbia Spotted Frogs also make other sounds, including a series of grinding grunting release sounds, and a series of rapid knocking sounds which may serve to attract females or repel other males. I have labelled these encounter calls. This sound is made in the air and underwater typically when a male is in close proximity to another male or when a male frog is pursuing another frog.


The following sounds were recorded on a warm sunny day in April at a pond in KittitasCounty Washington (shown below right) with the assistance of April Barrecca and Michelle Lester. Wind, traffic, airplanes, birds, dry reeds, and the occasional land call of a Pacific Treefrog can be heard in the background.

Sound  This is a 41 second recording of advertisement calls made in the air. At the end the quicker calls might also be the result of encounters between frogs. The sounds here were not recorded continuously, but were edited together from multiple recordings as calling was sporadic and background noise was excessive.

Sound  This is a 14 second edited recording of three separate examples of sounds made during an encounter of two male frogs.
Columbia Spotted Frog Habitat
Sound  This is a 26 second recording of a series of sounds made by two frogs. First, a frog calls in the air two times, then it dives underwater and calls in two segments as it grabs a second frog. Finally, we hear the release calls of the second frog underwater.

Sound  This is a 49 second recording of underwater calls made by several male frogs in close proximity to other males. These sounds were edited together from multiple recordings.
Columbia Spotted Frog Habitat

Capture and Release Calls

A release call is produced by a male frog or an unreceptive female frog when a frog or other animal (including a human hand) grabs it across the back in the position used for mating or amplexus. It's a frog's way of saying "Get off my back! Let go!"

Sound  This is a 3 second recording of the sounds made by a frog resting in shallow water as it was grabbed by a human hand.

Sound  This is a 9 second recording of the release calls made in the air by a frog that was being grasped across the back by a human hand.
Waveform and Sonogram
Sound  This is a recording of the advertisement calls of a Columbia Spotted Frog recorded during the day in Kittitas county, Washington.
The image above is a visual representation of this call.  Click on it to see a larger image.
Click here for information about how to read the waveform and sonogram images.
Short Videos
Columbia Spotted Frog Columbia Spotted Frog Columbia Spotted Frog
A male Columbia Spotted Frog in a breeding pond calls above and below the water as he chases another frog. Male Columbia Spotted Frogs in a breeding pond in call underwater and chase each other around an amplexing pair. Several male Columbia Spotted Frogs in a breeding pond call in the air while floating on the water, followed by a male diving, calling underwater, then surfacing.
Columbia Spotted Frog Columbia Spotted Frog  
A male Columbia Spotted Frog in a breeding pond calls in the air. When he is joined by three other frogs, he calls underwater, chases one and grabs on. We hear release calls made underwater, then he lets go and surfaces.

A male Columbia Spotted Frog in a breeding pond calls in the air while floating on the water, then dives and calls underwater.  

You can listen to more recordings of Columbia Spotted Frogs on this cd:

Carlos Davidson - Frog and Toad Calls of the Pacific Coast

cd cover

and on the cd that comes with this book:

Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson - The Frogs and Toads of North America - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

book cover

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