The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Lithobates catesbeianus
Lithobates catesbeianus
(American Bullfrog)
Native Transplant
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Lithobates catesbeianus (Shaw, 1802)

Common name: American Bullfrog

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Size: 9 - 15.2 cm

Native Range: Eastern United States, but historically absent from the Cape Cod archipelago and associated islands.

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Lithobates catesbeianus are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Arizona1935200529Aqua Fria; Bill Williams; Bouse Wash; Brawley Wash; Canyon Diablo; Grand Wash; Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Imperial Reservoir; Lake Mead; Lower Colorado; Lower Gila; Lower Salt; Lower San Pedro; Lower Santa Cruz; Lower Verde; Middle Gila; Middle Little Colorado; Rillito; Rio De La Concepcion; San Bernardino Valley; San Simon; Santa Cruz; Upper Gila-San Carlos Reservoir; Upper San Pedro; Upper Santa Cruz; Upper Verde; Whitewater Draw; Willcox Playa; Yuma Desert
California1896201974Aliso-San Onofre; Big Chico Creek-Sacramento River; Big-Navarro-Garcia; Butte; Butte Creek; California; California Region; Central California Coastal; Central Coastal; Clear Creek-Sacramento River; Coyote; East Branch North Fork Feather; Fresno River; Goose Lake; Imperial Reservoir; Indian Wells-Searles Valleys; Lake Tahoe; Los Angeles; Lost; Lower Klamath; Lower Pit; Lower Sacramento; Lower Sacramento; Lower San Joaquin River; Mad-Redwood; Mattole; McCloud; Middle Fork Eel; Middle Fork Feather; Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi-Grapevine; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Mojave; Monterey Bay; North Fork Feather; Northern Mojave; Owens Lake; Pajaro; Paynes Creek-Sacramento River; Rock Creek-French Camp Slough; Russian; Sacramento-Stone Corral; Salinas; San Diego; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Coastal South; San Joaquin; San Joaquin Delta; San Pablo Bay; Santa Ana; Santa Ana; Santa Margarita; South Fork American; South Fork Eel; South Fork Kern; Thomes Creek-Sacramento River; Trinity; Tulare Lake Bed; Upper Amargosa; Upper Cache; Upper Calaveras California; Upper Coon-Upper Auburn; Upper Cosumnes; Upper Deer-Upper White; Upper Dry; Upper Kaweah; Upper King; Upper Merced; Upper Pit; Upper Poso; Upper Putah; Upper Stanislaus; Upper Tuolumne; Upper Yuba
Colorado196620189Alamosa-Trinchera; Clear; Colorado Headwaters-Plateau; Frenchman; Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek; San Luis; St. Vrain; Tomichi; Upper South Platte
Hawaii189720196Hawaii; Kauai; Lanai; Maui; Molokai; Oahu
Idaho189720165Lower Boise; Middle Snake-Payette; Middle Snake-Succor; Priest; Upper Snake-Rock
Iowa193020195Big Papillion-Mosquito; Blackbird-Soldier; Floyd; Little Sioux; Lower Big Sioux
Kansas199619963Lower Walnut Creek; North Fork Cimarron; Upper Cimarron
Massachusetts199320052Cape Cod; Concord
Minnesota2006201514Cannon; Clearwater-Elk; Des Moines Headwaters; Le Sueur; Leech Lake; Long Prairie; Lower St. Croix; Middle Minnesota; Minnesota; St. Louis; Twin Cities; Upper Cedar; Upper Mississippi-Black-Root; Upper Mississippi-Crow-Rum
Montana200420138Bitterroot; Flathead Lake; Lower Flathead; Lower Yellowstone-Sunday; Middle Clark Fork; Stillwater; Upper Yellowstone-Lake Basin; Upper Yellowstone-Pompeys Pillar
Nebraska200520193Big Papillion-Mosquito; Middle Niobrara; Snake
Nevada1933200510Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Lake Tahoe; Las Vegas Wash; Lower Virgin; Meadow Valley Wash; Muddy; Northern Mojave; Surprise Valley; Upper Amargosa; White
New Jersey199620052Cohansey-Maurice; Mullica-Toms
New Mexico195819924El Paso-Las Cruces; Rio Grande-Albuquerque; San Simon; Upper Gila
Oregon1900201352Alsea; Applegate; Chetco; Clackamas; Coast Fork Willamette; Coos; Crooked-Rattlesnake; Goose Lake; Harney-Malheur Lakes; Illinois; John Day; Little Deschutes; Lost; Lower Columbia; Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Columbia-Sandy; Lower Crooked; Lower John Day; Lower Owyhee; Lower Rogue; Lower Snake; Lower Willamette; Mckenzie; Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula; Middle Fork Willamette; Middle Rogue; Middle Snake-Boise; Middle Willamette; Molalla-Pudding; Nehalem; North Santiam; North Umpqua; Pacific Northwest Region; Siletz-Yaquina; Silver; Silvies; Siuslaw; Sixes; South Santiam; South Umpqua; Sprague; Tualatin; Umatilla; Umpqua; Upper Crooked; Upper Deschutes; Upper Grande Ronde; Upper Klamath Lake; Upper Rogue; Upper Willamette; Warner Lakes; Williamson
Puerto Rico196720075Cibuco-Guajataca; Culebrinas-Guanajibo; Eastern Puerto Rico; Puerto Rico; Southern Puerto Rico
South Dakota200020202Lower Big Sioux; Missouri Region
Texas194220176Big Bend; Coyanosa-Hackberry Draws; El Paso-Las Cruces; Lower Prairie Dog Town Fork Red; Rio Grande-Fort Quitman; San Ambrosia-Santa Isabel
Utah196620154Great Salt Lake; Lower Virgin; Southern Great Salt Lake Desert; Upper Colorado-Kane Springs
Washington1931201917Klickitat; Lake Washington; Lower Columbia; Lower Columbia-Clatskanie; Lower Columbia-Sandy; Lower Cowlitz; Lower Crab; Lower Snake-Tucannon; Lower Yakima; Middle Columbia-Hood; Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula; Nisqually; Nooksack; Pacific Northwest Region; Puget Sound; Puyallup; Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids
Wyoming196619951Snake Headwaters

Table last updated 6/25/2020

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Found in lakes, ponds, cattle tanks, bogs, and sluggish portions of streams and rivers.  Breeds in June and July producing 10,000 to 20,000 eggs.  Tadpoles transform as quickly as 4 months in warmer climates and up to 3 years in colder locations.  In colder climates, bullfrogs require year-round persistence of water for tadpoles to mature and over-winter. This species has been shown to be an alternative host to the glochidia of native unionid mussel Utterbackia imbecillis (Watters and O'Dee 1998).

The home range of the L. catesbeianus has been estimated to be around 1.6 km (Copper 2017).

Means of Introduction: The original mode of introduction was probably through accidental introduction with fish stocking; however, other means of introduction have also contributed to the spread of this species in the western states.

Impact of Introduction: In Wellfleet, Lithobates catesbeiana is apparently expanding its population and out-competing the native Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans).  Larvae can have a significant impact upon benthic algae, and thus perturb aquatic community structure.  Where introduced populations have been studied in the Western U.S., adults consume birds, rodents, frogs, snakes, turtles, lizards, and bats.  They are voracious eaters who will also prey on their own young.

The introduced L. catesbeiana out-competes native amphibians in the modified portions of Trinity River, California (Fuller et al. 2011), indicating that habitat modification might aid in the establishment and spread of this species.

Remarks: Frost et al. (2006) revised the genus Rana and most of the North, Central and South American "true frogs" were seperated from this taxon and placed into the new genus Lithobates (Frost et al., 2006; Crother, 2008; Collins and Taggart, 2009).  Scientific and standard English names follow Crother (2008).

Based on a study in western Washington, conservation of ephemeral wetlands will halt range expansions of bullfrogs.  Permanently inundated wetlands are more likely to house nonindigenous species.

References: (click for full references)

Collins, J.T. and T.W. Taggart. 2009. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians, turtles, reptiles, and crocodilians. Sixth Edition. Publication of The Center for North American Herpetology, Lawrence. iv + 44p.

Cooper, M. 2017. Movement, habitat, and home range of introduced bullfrogs (Lithobates Catesbeianus) on Mad River gravel ponds (Humboldt Co., Ca, USA), with implications for hydro-modification as a method of management. Humboldt State University.

Crother, B.I. (chair). Committee on Standard and English and Scientific Names. 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and  Reptiles Herpetological Circular. No. 37. iii + 86p.

Frost, D. R., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. H. Bain, A. Haas, C. F. B. Haddad, R. O. De Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. C. Donnellan, C. J. Raxworthy, J. A. Campbell, B. L. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. A. Nussbaum, J. D. Lynch, D. M. Green, and W. C. Wheeler. 2006. The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297:1-370 + Fig. 50 foldout.

LeClere, J.  2002.  Bullfrog Rana catesbeiana.  Reptiles and Amphibians of Minnesota [online]. Available at URL: http://herpnet.net/Minnesota-Herpetology/frogs_toads/Bull_frog.html 

Watters, T.G. and S.H. O'Dee. 1998. Metamorphosis of freshwater mussel glochidia (Bivalvia: Unionidae) on amphibians and exotic fishes. Am. Midl. Nat. 139: 49-57.

Other Resources:
Bull frog (USDA) 

Bull frog (University of Michigan Museum)

Rana catesbeiana (bullfrog) (Global Invasive Species Program)

US Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Risk Screening Summary for Lithobates catesbeianus

Author: Liz McKercher, and Denise R. Gregoire

Revision Date: 7/3/2018

Citation Information:
Liz McKercher, and Denise R. Gregoire, 2020, Lithobates catesbeianus (Shaw, 1802): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=71, Revision Date: 7/3/2018, Access Date: 10/20/2020

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2020]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [10/20/2020].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted. For queries involving fish, please contact Matthew Neilson. For queries involving invertebrates, contact Amy Benson.