Translocate wood frogs

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • Two studies (including one replicated study) in the USA found that translocated wood frog eggs established breeding populations in 25–50% of created ponds.
  • One replicated study in the USA found that translocated wood frog eggs hatched and up to 57% survived as tadpoles in enclosures in restored ponds.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after study in 1965–1986 of two created ponds in Missouri, USA (Sexton & Phillips 1986) found that translocated wood frog Rana sylvatica eggs established a breeding population in one of two created ponds. At the second pond wood frogs did not establish. In 1980, wood frog eggs were translocated to two newly constructed ponds. Ponds were monitored until 1986.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, before-and-after study in 1974–1995 in Missouri, USA (Sexton et al. 1998) found that one of four wood frog Rana sylvatica egg translocations established a breeding population. The population was stable between 1987 (311 captured) and 1995 (364). Wood frogs also colonized four other created ponds (0.9–2.4 km). In 1980, 11 wood frog egg masses were translocated 50 km into four created ponds. Monitoring was undertaken using drift-fencing with pitfall traps around ponds and by egg mass counts and call surveys.

    Study and other actions tested
  3. A replicated study in 2005–2008 in a restored forested wetland in Lake County, Illinois, USA (Sacerdote 2009) found that translocated wood frog Lithobates sylvaticus eggs hatched and survived as tadpoles in enclosures in restored ponds. Tadpole survival in restored ponds was 6–57%. In 2008, two translocated wood frog egg masses were placed in separate mesh enclosures (56 x 36 x 36 cm) in each of five restored ponds. Tadpoles were monitored 2–3 times/week until metamorphosis. Tadpoles were moved if ponds dried.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Smith, R.K., Meredith, H. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Amphibian Conservation. Pages 9-64 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Amphibian Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Amphibian Conservation
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What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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