Snout to vent length: 2.2-5.1 cm (females larger). Adult and juveniles are variable in colour, ranging from light brown, tan, grey-green to charcoal. Lighter coloured individuals may have irregular dark spots on back. The skin is covered with minute bumps giving the frog a ‘pebbly’ appearance. A light-coloured bar or triangle between the eyes and snout is common, a dark broken line extends from the tip of the snout along the eye to the end of the head. The head does not exhibit a tympanum (ear) and the pupil is vertical. Outermost toes on the hind feet are flattened and wide. This species does not have an ability to vocalize like other frog species. Tadpoles range from brownish-grey to reddish-brown or black and are up to 3 cm long prior to metamorphosis. In some populations (e.g. US), the tail has a white tip. The tail is laterally compressed to provide streamlining in fast flows. Tailed Frog tadpoles have suction like mouth parts with rows of teeth on the top and bottom, allowing them to anchor to rocks (and other surfaces) in fast flowing water. The “tail” appendage is an adaptation to reproduction in fast flowing water, directing sperm into the female and reducing sperm loss during breeding.
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Claussen, D.L. 1973a. The thermal relations of the tailed frog, Ascaphus truei, and the Pacific treefrog, Hyla regilla. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 44A: 137-153. 1973b. The water relations of the tailed frog, Ascaphus truei, and the Pacific treefrog, Hyla regilla. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 44A: 155-171. -
Daugherty, C.H. and A.L. Sheldon. 1982a. Age-determination, growth and life history of a Montana population of the tailed frog (Ascaphus truei). Herpetologica 38: 461-468.. 1982b. Age-specific movement patterns of the frog Ascaphus truei. Herpetologica 38: 469-474. -
deVlaming, V.L. and R.B. Bury. 1970. Thermal selection in tadpoles of the tailed frog, Ascaphus truei. J. Herpetology 4: 179-189. -
Dupuis, L.A., P.A. Friele, and F.L. Bunnell. 2000. [Internet] Determinants of the tailed frog's range in British Columbia, Canada. Northwest Science 74: 109-115. -
Dupuis, L.A. and D. Steventon. 1999. [Internet] Riparian management and the tailed frog in northern coastal forests. Forest Ecol. Manage. 124: 35-43. -
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Germano, J.M. and P.J. Bishop. 2008. [Internet] Suitability of Amphibians and Reptiles for Translocation. Conservation Biology 23: 7-15. -
Heyer, W.R., et al. 1994. Measuring and Monitoring Biological Diversity. Standard Methods for Amphibians. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. -
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Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. 2000. [Internet]. Inventory Methods for Tailed Frogs and Pacific Giant Salamanders (Version 2.0) for Components of British Columbia’s Biodiversity No.39. -
Nussbaum, R.A., E.D. Brodie, and R.M. Storm. 1983. Amphibians and reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. Univ. of Idaho Press, Moscow, ID. -
Ovaska, K, S. Lennart, C Engelstoft, L. Matthias, E. Wind and J. MacGarvie. 2004. [Internet] Best Management Practices for Amphibians and Reptiles in Urban and Rural Environments in British Columbia. Ministry of Water Land and Air Protection, Ecosystems Standards and Planning, Biodiversity Branch. -
Proulx, Gilbert et al. 2003. A Field Guide to Species at Risk in the Coast Forest Region of British Columbia. Published by International Forest Products and BC Ministry of Environment. Victoria (BC). -
Richardson, J.S. and W.E. Neill. 1998. [Internet] Headwater amphibians and forestry in British Columbia: Pacific giant salamanders and tailed frogs. Northwest Science 72: 122-123. -
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"Species Profile prepared by: Pamela Zevit of Adamah Consultants with Brent Matsuda for the South Coast Conservation Program (SCCP) in partnership with: International Forest Products (Interfor), Capacity Forestry (CapFor). Original funding for this factsheet was made possible through the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): http://www.sfiprogram.org/
Updated and revised by: Isabelle Houde, RPBio in consultation with the SCCP. Part of the National Conservation Plan, this project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada. Dans le cadre du Plan de Conservation National, ce projet a été réalisé avec l'appui financier du Gouvernement du Canada.
Every effort has been made to ensure content accuracy. Comments or corrections should be directed to the South Coast Conservation Program: email@example.com. Content updated March 2015. Image Credits: Pacific Tailed Frog: Garth Hodgson US Forest Service, Pacific Tailed Frog head close-up: Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Pacific Tailed Frog tadpole: Brian Klinkenberg, Western Toad juvenile: Walter Seigmund Wikipedia, Habitat: Pamela Zevit, Northern Red-legged Frog: Gord Gadsden. All other images have been contributed for use by the SCCP and its partners/funders only."