Wildwood Group
Wildwood Group
Wildwood Group

Marsh Frog

Pelophylax ridibundus

 

Description

Green in colour, it is much larger than the UK’s Common frog, reaching a maximum length of around 17cm. Colour patterns can vary greatly, ranging from dark green, brown or grey blotches and lines, as well as lighter lines on the backs of some individuals. In comparison with the Common Frog, not only is it larger, it has a rounder snout, and possesses two grey air sacs either side of their mouths.

Distribution

Widespread range throughout continental Europe. Non-native species in the UK, as well as Kazakhstan and Siberia.

Habitat

Non-specialist habitat selector, found in both mixed and deciduous woodlands, grasslands, marshes, bogs and semi-deserts. Favours open, warm areas with a lot of vegetation, mixed with a variety of water bodies (both stagnant and flowing). These can range from shallow puddles to large lakes.

Diet

Mostly invertebrates (e.g. dragonflies, other insects, spiders and slugs), but larger frogs have been known to also eat small rodents, fish and other smaller amphibians.

Behaviour

Highly aquatic species, and will readily escape into water at any disturbance. Thought to prefer different breeding sites than our native frogs (such as ditches and dykes) however they have been shown to breed in the same habitats as our native amphibians.

UK Status

The Marsh Frog was introduced to the UK in the 1930s into Romney Marsh (Kent). Currently the population is spreading, and it is now found in several areas in Kent and Sussex, as well as Southwest and West London. Due to its predatory nature, the spread of this species throughout the rest of the UK is not encouraged due to the unknown impact it may have on native wildlife. The release or spread of this species is classed as illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Threats

No major threats to this highly adaptable species. Localised population declines can be attributed to habitat loss of breeding habitats. Seems to be highly tolerant of environmental pollution when compared to other amphibian species.

Did you know?

Is also known as the “laughing frog” due to its laughing sound calls.