1067-4136/02/3306- $27.00 © 2002
Russian Journal of Ecology, Vol. 33, No. 6, 2002, pp. 446–451. Translated from Ekologiya, No. 6, 2002, pp. 472–478.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2002 by Ushakov.
The marsh frog is a widespread and ﬂexible species
that mainly occupies various aquatic biotopes. In the
Lipetsk oblast, these frogs avoid only closed forest
water bodies and springs, and their habitats in the Cen-
tral Russian Upland and the Oka–Don Lowland obvi-
ously differ from each other. According to Klimov
(1999), the number of these amphibians in the Oka–
Don Lowland is greater. The comparison of morpho-
logical variation in frogs from these regions shows that
the pressure of natural selection is greater in the Central
Russian Upland (Vykhodtseva, 1992; Vykhodtseva and
Klimov, 1993; Kovylina and Vykhodtseva, 1993; Kli-
, 1999), and this pressure determines the rela-
tionship between the demographic and morphological
characteristics of the amphibian populations.
This study was performed at the Galich’ya Gora
Nature Reserve (Zadonskii raion, Lipetsk oblast) with
the purpose of analyzing the changes in the morpholog-
ical parameters of frogs depending on the biotopic
characteristics of the environment.
The material was collected on the bank of the Don
River within the reserve on August 14–22, 1996. The
corresponding segment of the river is approximately 3
km long. Mount Morozova is located on its left bank.
Its northern part is a forested slope descending to the
ﬂoodplain. Southward, the ﬂoodplain sharply narrows,
and the slope becomes steeper and descends almost to
the edge of water. Mount Galich’ya is on the right bank.
The ﬂoodplain is only in its southernmost part; in other
places, the sloping primary bank adjoins the edge of
The banks of the Don River and their plant cover in
these areas are fairly variable. For this reason, the study
area was arbitrarily divided into several sites with more
or less similar conditions: (1) a ﬂat sandy bank with
rare clumps of willow, (2) a steep sandy bank over-
grown with willow, (3) a steep sandy bank partially
covered with willow and riparian grasses, (4) a steppe
bank partially covered with willow and riparian
grasses, (5) a mainly stony bank covered with a forest,
and (6) a steep bank overgrown with thick riparian
grasses and rare clumps of willow (Fig. 1). Sites 1–3
were on Mount Morozova, and sites 4–6, on Mount
At each site, no less than 30 frogs of different sex
and age groups (i.e., female, male, adultus, and sub-
adultus) were collected. On the whole, there were 169
frogs from ﬁve sites (the frogs rarely appeared at site 1).
The phenetic description of
was made according to the studies by Borkin and
Tikhenko (1976, 1979), Zhukov and Kubantsev (1976),
and Peskov (1976). Eight characters were analyzed, six
on the dorsal and two on the ventral side:
, the central (dorsomedial) strip (1, absent; 2,
from the snout to the anus; 3, from the snout to the pec-
toral girdle; 4, from the snout to the pelvic girdle; 5,
from the eyes to the anus; 6, from the eyes to the pelvic
girdle; 7, from the nostrils to the anus; and 8, a trace
consisting of several spots).
, the discontinuity of the central strip (1, in the
pectoral girdle area; 2, in the hind limb area; and 3, in
the forelimb area and in the middle of the back).
, the sinuousness of the central strip (1, a bend
in the front limb area; 2, a bend in the area of the tym-
panic membrane and the middle of the back; 3, a bend
in the tympanic membrane area; 4, displacement to one
side in the hind limb area; 5, a bend in the eye area; and
6, a bend in the hind limb area).
Ecomorphological Characteristics of the Marsh Frog
from the Galich’ya Gora Nature Reserve
M. V. Ushakov
Galich’ya Gora Nature Reserve, Voronezh State University, Donskoe, Zadonskii raion, Lipetsk oblast, 399240 Russia
Received September 19, 2000
, ecology, sex structure, age structure, polymorphic variation, intraspeciﬁc compe-
tition, anthropogenic impact.
Location of sites (
) at which the samples of
marsh frogs were taken.