Great Plains Natural Science Society


Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist • 52(1): June 2020, pp 31-32


Historically, only six records of Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) existed from South Dakota, all represented by museum specimens. A single specimen was collected from Hartford Beach on Big Stone Lake, Roberts County in 1922 (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution [USNM] 65452) and five Wood Frogs were collected near the outlet of Blue Dog Lake, Day County in 1929 (USNM 312618– 312622; Fig. 1). After the 1920s, no other Wood Frogs were reported in South Dakota for the next six decades, and the species was presumed extirpated. Over (1923, 1943) reported the species was common in the wooded coulees located along the escarpment of the Prairie Coteau in western Roberts County, South Dakota. Later, Fishbeck and Underhill (1960) reported that Wood Frogs no longer occurred in these areas and surmised that droughts and over-harvesting of timber in the coulees had led to the species’ extirpation. Unfortunately, no author was specific about the locations or names of the coulees. However in 1997, Wood Frog calls were recorded at two sites in northeastern Roberts County (Fisher 1998, Naugle et al. 2005), the first record of the species in South Dakota since 1929. Since 1997, numerous individuals have continued to document Wood Frogs in northeastern Roberts County (Backlund 2005; James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota [JFBM] 14426; Biodiversity Collections, University of Texas at Austin [TNHC] 108910–108914, 108916–108918). It was not until 2016 that Wood Frogs were detected outside of northeastern Roberts County (Fig. 1). On 3 May 2016, a single juvenile Wood Frog was collected along Owens Creek, Ortley Game Production Area, southwestern Roberts County, South Dakota (45.34936°N, 97.20640°W; WGS 84; TNHC 108915).