A regional survey of malformed frogs in Minnesota (USA) (Minnesota malformed frogs)

Susan M. Vandenlangenberg, Jeffrey T. Canfield, Joseph A. Magner

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22 Scopus citations


In late 1995, school children discovered malformed frogs in a south central Minnesota pond. Press coverage resulted in numerous citizen reports of frog malformation across Minnesota in 1996. After some initial site investigation, 3 affected frog sites and 4 nearby reference sites were selected for more detailed evaluation. Field biologists made 89 visits to study sites beginning spring 1997 through fall 1999 to examine the number and type of frog malformations. Over 5,100 Leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) were captured and examined at all study sites. Water elevations and associated littoral inundation were recorded from 1997-2000. Results indicate that malformation occurred at all study sites above historical background levels. Rana pipiens malformation across all sites over three seasons averaged 7.9% and ranged from 0 to 7% at reference sites and 4 to 23% at affected sites. At one northern Minnesota site, mink frog (Rana septentrionalis) malformation was 75% in 1998. A site characteristic common to the most affected sites was an elastic zone of littoral inundation. Climate driven hydrologic variation likely influenced water depth and associated breeding locations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-61
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Amphibian
  • Climate
  • Frog
  • Hydrology
  • Malformation
  • Wetland


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