The Living World
Mtn. Yellow Legged Frog
California is not only home to a large array of bustling cities, it is also home to a large variety of endemic species, so much so that it has earned the title of a biodiversity hotspot. A title that also carries with it the cries of an ecosystem in peril. The mountain yellow legged frog (Rana muscosa) was once a very common resident in the high elevation, steep gradient streams and water bodies of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Free from predatory native fish species, its tadpoles could take up to two years to mature, but with the invasion of recreational fishing, fish species such as trout have been introduced into their once protected waterways. Frog populations have been on a gradual decline for the last 100 years at least. But in recent decades, a new threat has presented itself to the yellow legged frog, a fungal pathogen known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.