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Pool Frog

The pool frog is a common amphibian species with a range spanning several European countries and part of Russia. They can be found in several a variety of wetland habitats across this range.

Pelophylax lessonae – Pool Frog
Common NamePool Frog
Other NameNone
Scientific NamePelophylax lessonae
LocationsNorthern Europe
Western Russia 
CharacteristicsHorizontal eye pupil
Stocky body
Dark spots on back legs
Light line down the side
ColorGreen, yellow-green, gray-green dorsal side
Belly white or yellow-white
OriginEurope
United Kingdom
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
FamilyRanidae
GeniusPelophylax
SpeciesP. lessonae , P. ridibunda 
PoisonousNo
Max LengthMales: 6cm (2.3 inches) 
Females: 9cm (3.5 inches)
Max Weight80 grams
Lifespan6-12 years

Pool Frog Diet Through Life Stages 

The diet of a pool frog differs through each metamorphic life stage.

Tadpoles consume algae from their aquatic environments.

Juveniles will eat flies and fly larvae from the water surface.

Adults will venture onto land and consume invertebrates, mainly insects. 

Adult pool frogs have vomerine teeth in the top of their mouths used to capture and hold their prey.

Their teeth and tongue work together to capture and hold back the prey

Coloration and Body Features 

Pool frogs have an interesting pattern to them that may change slightly in color, but generally remains the same across populations.

Their short, stocky bodies have a lighter ventral belly compared to their dorsal backs.

Bellies tend to be white, yellow, or yellow-white. 

The dorsal coloration of a pool frog may range from green to yellow-green to gray-green.

Members of this species have a distinctive yellow line down their sides that separates their back and belly.

They also have black spots that vary in size and shape across their backs and rear legs. 

Distribution, Range, and Habitat 

This species originated in the United Kingdom, but is no longer found there.

Its range spans a great distance, from northern France, through Germany and Poland, into Ukraine, and past Moscow into Russia.

Two Pool Frogs in my parent’s pond in North-Eastern France

It can be found in other countries, such as Italy, but in a smaller range than the others. 

They can be found in deciduous and mixed forests, meadows, fields, and bodies of water without the presence of competing fish species.

This species tends to prefer their waterways to be heavily covered with thick vegetation.

They breed in these water environments and have a tough time adapting to other environments. 

Conservation and Threats 

The species of pool frog is currently listed as least concern according to the International Union of Conservation of Natureā€™s (IUCN) Red List of endangered animals.

However, this species has been reported to be decreasing in its range.

It is protected under UK Law, making it illegal to sell or trade this species.

Threats to Pool Frogs are similar to threats to most other species; agricultural and urban expansion.

Pollutants in the wetlands they use to breed and live can expose them to potentially fatal chemicals as well.

The introduction of predatory fish that out-compete and prey on pool fish is becoming an increasing problem. 

Hibernation Season, Breeding Season, and Behaviors 

Pool frogs hibernate starting in September and ending in March.

Breeding and reproduction begins right afterwards and lasts until June.

Males will gather in choruses and use their paired white vocal sacs to attract females. 

Male Pool Frog calling during mating season

Males clutch females in amplexus with the help of the nuptial pads on their first finger.

This pad is designed to allow the male better grip.

Females can lay between 440-4400 eggs in one clutch. 

How to Find A Pool Frog In the Wild

  • Step one: Go to Europe or Western Russia, any of the countries where pool frogs are prevalent. 
  • Step two: It would be best to go when they are most active, and that is during breeding season! Breeding occurs in the spring, between March and June. 
  • Step three: Find still-standing water with heavy vegetation cover inside a forest. This sounds easier than it is, so go slow! Find waterways with no fish, as they prefer it that way. 
  • Step four: Listen for breeding choruses. Males call for females in large groups called choruses. 

Fun Facts About Pool Frogs!

  • Males and Females show a more yellow coloration during breeding season. This color change may be used to attract a mate. 
  • This species was formerly named Rana lessonae
  • Pool frogs are commonly harvested for the frog leg trade and used as food items

Sources

AmphibiaWeb. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://amphibiaweb.org

ARC_Bytes. (n.d.). Northern Pool Frog. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Retrieved from https://www.arc-trust.org/pool-frog

IUCN. 2022. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2022-2. https://www.iucnredlist.org.