Recent studies have split the tailed frog into two species
Coastal Tailed Frog
Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog
Grenouille-à-queue des Rocheuses
The Tailed Frogs are very unusual looking species. They have no external eardrum
(tympanum) and the males have an
external copulatory organ which appears to be a tail but is coloured similarly to the back.
The colour varies from olive, gray or tan to almost black with dark spots on the back and a
yellowish triangle on the head. The eyes have a vertical pupil. Maximum adult size is 5 cm.
The Tailed Frogs are the only Canadian frogs which do not call.
Male Tailed Frogs cannot be confused with any other species. While newly transformed
froglets of most species may have a remnant tadpole tail, this true tail has a distinctly
different colour and texture from the rest of the frog and is resorbed within a few days of
transformation.The "tail" of the Tailed Frog extends from the base of the spine and has a
colour and texture similar to the skin on the back of the frog. Spadefoots also have a
vertical pupil but they have tympana as do all other frogs and toads.
Coastal Tailed Frogs are restricted to the southwestern mainland and areas north along the
coast of British Columbia to Kitimat and Bella Coola. They are found as far south as
northern California. Rocky Mountain Tailed Frogs are distributed from extreme southeastern
British Columbia to northern Oregon.
Tailed Frogs inhabit cold, swift mountain streams in steep sided valleys of forested
Tailed Frogs do not have a mating call. Mating occurs in spring or fall and eggs are
laid the following summer in small clusters under submerged rocks. They remain tadpoles
for two to four years and require a further eight years to reach sexual maturity.
Adults eat aquatic and terrestrial insects. During the day they hide beneath rocks in the
stream, emerging to forage in the evening. Tadpoles attach themselves to a rock with their
mouth parts when they want to remain stationary in the swift current and scrape algae and
other food from the surface of stones. Maximum known age is 14 years.
The Tailed Frog has declined where its habitat has been degraded by logging. When trees
are removed from adjacent to the stream, not only is foraging habitat destroyed but the
increased exposure alters the water temperature and allows rain to wash soil into the
stream. The Coastal Tailed Frog is designated Special Concern and the RocKy Mountain
Tailed Frog is designated Endangered by