US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49 (2008) 198–210. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.05.037


The dynamic geological and climatic history of northwestern North America has made it a focal region for phylogeography. We conducted a range-wide phylogeographic analysis of the spotted frog complex (Rana luteiventris and Rana pretiosa) across its range in northwestern North America to understand its evolutionary history and the distribution of clades to inform conservation of R. pretiosa and Great Basin R. luteiventris, candidates for listing under the US Endangered Species Act. Mitochondrial DNA sequence data from a segment of the cytochrome b gene were obtained from 308 R. luteiventris and R. pretiosa from 96 sites. Phylogenetic analysis revealed one main R. pretiosa clade and three main R. luteiventris clades, two of which overlapped in southeastern Oregon. The three R. luteiventris clades were separated from each other by high levels of sequence divergence (average of 4.75–4.97%). Two divergent clades were also uncovered within the Great Basin. Low genetic variation in R. pretiosa and the southeastern Oregon clade of R. luteiventris suggests concern about their vulnerability to extinction.