Sierra Nevada Yellow-Legged Frog
Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs love to chill in high elevation lakes and slow-moving portions of streams. Melting snow pack and summer rainfall are important contributors to the aqueous abode of these frogs, but fluctuate significantly between years (e.g., 20 to 200% on average for snow pack). Climate change is predicted to increase these fluctuations in water availability, leading to more frequent drying of the shallow ponds where most yellow-legged frog breeding and larval development occurs today. Since larval development of the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog takes three or more years, drying of small ponds will severely reduce frog recruitment. Invasive fish that prey on these frogs in larger lakes, along with pond drying, may cause the extinction of local frog populations. Extensive surveys between 1995 and 2005 yielded only 11 sites occupied by the yellow-legged frog. This species may soon be high and dry.
Art by Natasha Bowdoin.