Most frogs will reproduce by laying eggs. These eggs are typically laid in the water and attached to twigs, grass, or other vegetation just slightly below the surface of the water. But how many eggs do frogs lay?
Depending on the species, a single frog can lay anywhere from 2 to as many as 40,000 eggs at a time. These eggs are usually laid in masses, but some species lay eggs singly or in rows attached to submerged vegetation.
The reason frogs lay so many eggs is – most frogs will abandon their eggs shortly after laying them, and the offspring have very low survival rates.
Most of the eggs will be killed by exposure to the elements, or eaten by predators before they hatch into tadpoles. Of the tadpoles that hatch, only a handful will survive long enough to grow into adult frogs and reproduce.
How Many Eggs 90 Species of Frogs Lay
Frogs are found on every continent, excluding Antarctica. With this wide distribution, they live in a very wide range of habitats, from humid forests, to dry regions.
Different species of frogs have adapted to their environment and developed breeding methods that are practical for the areas they live in.
For this reason, the number of eggs a frog lays can vary dramatically between different species.
Some frogs such as poison dart frogs can lay as few as 6 eggs while other frogs such as the American bullfrog can lay over 20, 000 eggs at one time!
Below is a table that shows approximately how many eggs 30 frog species lay at a time.
How Many Eggs They Lay (Approx.)
|Wood frog||Lithobates sylvaticus||1,000 – 3,000|
|Pickerel Frog||Lithobates palustris||700 – 3,000|
|Leopard Frog||Lithobates pipiens||300 – 6,500|
|American bullfrog||Lithobates catesbeianus||6,000 – 20,000|
|Green frog||Rana clamitans||1,000 – 7,000|
|Bronze frog||Lithobates clamitans clamitans||2,000 – 4,000|
|African bullfrog||Pyxicephalus adspersus||3,000 – 4,000|
|Pacman frog||Ceratophrys||1,000 – 2000|
|Mink frog||Lithobates septentrionalis||500 – 4,000|
|River frog||Rana heckscheri||6,000 – 8,000|
|Crawfish frog||Lithobates areolatus||3,000 – 7,000|
|Pig Frog||Rana grylio||6,000- 10,000|
|Coastal tailed frog||Ascaphus truei||44 – 85|
|Carpenter frog||Rana virgatipes||200 – 600|
|Gopher frog||Lithobates capito||1,200 – 7,000|
|Northern red-legged frog||Rana aurora||200 – 1,100|
|California red-legged frog||Rana draytonii||300 – 4,000|
|Foothill yellow-legged frog||Rana boylii||300 – 2,000|
|Tarahumara frog||Rana tarahumarae||500 – 2,000|
|Cascades frog||Rana cascadae||300 – 800|
|Columbia spotted frog||Rana luteiventris||150 – 2,400|
|Oregon spotted frog||Rana pretiosa||250 -1,000|
|European common frog||Rana temporaria||300 – 4,000|
|Mexican white-lipped frog||Leptodactylus fragilis||25 – 250|
|African clawed frog||Xenopus laevis||500 – 2,000|
|African dwarf frog||Hymenochirus||500 – 2,000|
|Tomato frog||Dyscophus||1,000 – 1,500|
|Florida bog frog||Lithobates okaloosae||150 – 350|
|Northern sheep frog||Hypopachus variolosus||500 – 700|
|Marsh frog||Pelophylax ridibundus||670 – 13,000|
How Many Eggs Tree Frogs Lay
Below is a table that shows approximately how many eggs 30 tree frog species lay at a time.
How Many Eggs They Lay (Approx.)
|Gray tree frog||Hyla versicolor||1000 – 2,000|
|Cope’s gray tree frog||Hyla chrysoscelis||1000 – 2,000|
|Spring peeper||Pseudacris crucifer||750 – 1,200|
|American green tree frog||Hyla cinerea||300 – 1,000|
|Cuban tree frog||Osteopilus septentrionalis||100 – 1,000|
|Pacific tree frog||Pseudacris regilla||400 – 750|
|Poison dart frog||Dendrobatidae||2 – 40|
|Glass frog||Centrolenidae||14 – 30|
|Red-eyed tree frog||Agalychnis callidryas||20 – 60|
|Amazon milk frog||Trachycephalus resinifictrix||300 – 2,500|
|Common Mexican tree frog||Smilisca baudinii||2,500 – 3,500|
|Pine woods tree frog||Hyla femoralis||800 – 2,000|
|Barking tree frog||Hyla gratiosa||1,500 – 4,000|
|Squirrel tree frog||Hyla squirella||900 – 1,200|
|Australian green tree frog||Litoria caerulea||200 – 2,000|
|European tree frog||Hyla arborea||200 – 2000|
|Blanchard’s cricket frog||Acris blanchardi||200 – 400|
|Southern cricket Frog||Acris gryllus||100 – 250|
|Northern cricket frog||Acris crepitans||200 – 400|
|Pine Barrens tree frog||Dryophytes andersonii||400 – 1,000|
|Canyon tree frog||Hyla arenicolor||100 – 400|
|Boreal chorus frog||Pseudacris maculata||150 – 1,500|
|Bird-voiced tree frog||Hyla avivoca||400 – 800|
|Arizona tree frog||Hyla eximia||508 – 1,476|
|Little grass frog||Pseudacris ocularis||100 – 200|
|Coronated tree frog||Anotheca spinosa||50 – 300|
|New Jersey chorus frog||Pseudacris kalmi||500 -1,500|
|Mediterranean tree frog||Hyla meridionalis||800 – 1,000|
|Italian tree frog||Hyla intermedia||400 – 1,000|
|Iberian tree frog||Hyla molleri||400 – 1,500|
How Many Eggs Toads Lay
Below is a table that shows approximately how many eggs 30 toad species lay at a time.
How Many Eggs They Lay (Approx.)
|American toad||Anaxyrus americanus||2,000 – 20,000|
|Fowler’s toad||Anaxyrus fowleri||2,000 – 6,300|
|Western toad||Anaxyrus boreas||3,000 -16,500|
|Cane toad||Rhinella marina||8,000 – 35,000|
|Great Plains toad||Anaxyrus cognatus||1,300 – 20, 000|
|Canadian toad||Anaxyrus hemiophrys||3,000 – 20,000|
|European toad||Bufo bufo||1,500 – 5,000|
|Natterjack toad||Epidalea calamita||3,000 – 7,500|
|Arizona toad||Anaxyrus microscaphus||4,000 – 5,000|
|Southern toad||Anaxyrus terrestris||2,500 – 4,000|
|Colorado River toad||Incilius alvarius||7,500 – 8,000|
|African common toad||Sclerophrys regularis||1,500 – 6,000|
|Mexican burrowing toad||Rhinophrynus dorsalis||2,000 – 8,000|
|Oriental fire-bellied toad||Bombina orientalis||80 – 300|
|Asian common toad||Duttaphrynus melanostictus||6,000 – 40,000|
|Eastern spadefoot toad||Scaphiopus holbrookii||1,000 – 2,500|
|Western spadefoot toad||Spea hammondii||300 – 500|
|Amargosa toad||Anaxyrus nelsoni||3,000 – 6,000|
|Red-spotted toad||Anaxyrus punctatus||1,500 – 5,000|
|Houston toad||Anaxyrus houstonensis||500 – 6,000|
|Eastern narrow-mouthed toad||Gastrophryne carolinensis||500 – 850|
|Yosemite toad||Anaxyrus canorus||1,000 – 2,000|
|Woodhouse’s toad||Anaxyrus woodhousii||12,000 – 28,000|
|Oak toad||Anaxyrus quercicus||300 – 500|
|Arroyo toad||Anaxyrus californicus||2,000 – 10,000|
|Sonoran green toad||Anaxyrus retiformis||50 – 200|
|Great Plains narrow-mouthed toad||Gastrophryne olivacea||650 – 2,100|
|Coastal plains toad||Incilius nebulifer||2,000 – 20,000|
|Great Basin Spadefoot||Spea intermontana||300 – 1,000|
|New Mexico spadefoot toad||Spea multiplicata||600 – 1,070|
Why Do Most Frogs Lay So Many Eggs?
As mentioned earlier, frogs lay large numbers of eggs as a natural way to counter the extremely high mortality rates they experience in their early life stages.
Most frogs leave their eggs shortly after laying them. This means the eggs (and tadpoles) are vulnerable to predators, and environmental conditions – leading to very low survival rates.
It is estimated that only one in fifty or 2% of frog eggs laid will survive long enough to make it out of the water as a froglet. The rest will be eaten by predators such as fish (if present in the pond), newts, large aquatic insects, snakes, and even other frogs.
Sometimes, the pond where the eggs are laid dries up, which kills the developing embryos or the tadpoles soon after they hatch.
Very Few Tadpoles Survive Long Enough to Become Frogs
Of the tadpoles that hatch, there will be intense competition for food and limited resources, meaning again the number of tadpoles will naturally thin out. Many species of tadpoles are even known to eat smaller, vulnerable tadpoles – further reducing the numbers.
When the froglets leave the water, only a few will live to adulthood and reproduce – which can be as low as 1%. The rest will get eaten by predators such as birds, snakes, larger frogs, and small mammals such as foxes.
Some Frogs Only Have to Lay a Few Eggs
Some frogs such as poison dart frogs and glass frogs, only lay a few dozen eggs at a time. The reason for this is, that they breed in more favorable environments – so, their offspring generally have higher survival rates.
Frogs such as poison dart frogs and glass frogs are even known to protect their offspring – which improves the survival rates.
Generally, about 10-20% of all known frog species show some form of parental care. In these species, parental care may include the protection of eggs and/or tadpoles, transporting of tadpoles, feeding of tadpoles, or brooding of eggs.
For example, in many glass frog species, the mothers brood the eggs during the night the eggs are fertilized, and the fathers stay with the eggs to guard them for much longer periods.
In many poison dart frog species, the male guards the eggs until they hatch into tadpoles – then he transports each tadpole to its own tiny pool of water held within the cup-like leaves of a bromeliad plant.
Female horned marsupial frogs carry their eggs in a pouch on their back until they hatch as fully developed frogs.
How Frogs Lay Their Eggs
Different frog species have slightly different ways of laying their eggs. Most frogs such as the mink frog will lay eggs in one cluster, but others such as the Australian green tree frog are known to lay multiple clusters.
In many species (such as wood frogs or leopard frogs), many females congregate and lay their eggs communally, so it’s common to find large stretches of frog eggs floating in the same pool.
In gray tree frogs, the female lays a single egg mass – then almost immediately upon laying, the large egg mass breaks into small, loose egg clusters of 10 to 40 eggs.
Some frogs such as the Green frog or American bullfrog lay their eggs as a film on the water’s surface.
The eggs look like small, floating black spots and may be in small groups or a large raft, depending on how much they have been disturbed.
Frogs such as the spring peeper deposit their eggs singly on submerged vegetation. Sometimes, many eggs are laid closely together along the same stick creating large concentrations of eggs.
Tailed frogs attach their strings of eggs to the underside of large rocks or boulders in streams. They are North American frogs to fertilize eggs internally.
How Often Do Frogs Lay Eggs?
Most frog species lay eggs once or twice per year in the warm spring or summer months, but some frog species in some regions can breed year-round.
The breeding season for frogs is largely stimulated by rainfall, higher temperatures, and the availability of food. Spring or summer rain creates puddles and fills vernal pools, ponds, and other water bodies for frogs to lay their eggs in.
How frequently a frog will lay eggs largely depends on the climate. For example, Cuban tree frogs in most of Florida breed predominately in the spring and summer months – but in the southern part of the state, they can breed year-round due to a favorable climate.
Southern cricket frogs are known to breed 2 to 3 times a year from February through October.
The Frogs That Lay Eggs on Land
Some frogs, such as the Walpole Frog of Australia lay eggs on land. 25- 30 eggs are laid in a small cluster in wet soil, or moss burrows hidden by vegetation near creeks, swamps, and other freshwater bodies.
When the tadpoles hatch, they never swim or come in contact with water. Instead, they develop inside the broken egg jelly mass, feeding entirely on the yolk of their egg – until they develop into small frogs.
Since Wapole frogs develop entirely on land, they generally do not encounter most of the problems and predators faced by frogs that breed in the water – and their young have higher survival rates.
This means they do not need to lay thousands of eggs.
Some Frogs Do Not Lay Eggs
While most frog species lay eggs, there are a few exceptions. For example, Limnonectes larvaepartus, a species of fanged frog found in northern and western Sulawesi, Indonesia – does not lay eggs and instead gives birth to live young.
Females produce approximately 100 eggs. The embryos then develop inside their eggs inside the mother’s body and hatch into well-developed tadpoles just before birth.
Finally, the tadpoles are birthed into slow-moving streams where they will develop into froglets.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
How many eggs does one frog lay?
Depending on the species, frogs can lay anywhere from 2 to as many as over 20,000 eggs at a time. For example, one poison dart frog or glass frog will typically lay less than 30 eggs at a time, but a single American bullfrog can lay tens of thousands of eggs, regularly exceeding 20, 000.
Why do frogs lay thousands of eggs?
Frogs lay thousands of eggs for survival reasons. Most frog eggs are eaten by predators before they hatch into tadpoles. Of the tadpoles that hatch, only a few will live long enough to transform into froglets and leave the water.
Once out of the water, only a tiny fraction of the froglets will survive long enough to grow into adult frogs and reproduce. The large number of eggs laid by each frog is vital to the survival of its species
How many times can a frog lay eggs?
Most frogs will only lay eggs once or twice a year, usually in the warm & rainy spring or summer months. However, some frogs living in favorable climates can lay eggs year-round.
What are frog eggs called?
Many frog eggs clumped together are collectively known as “frogspawn”. Frogspawn looks like a clump of clear jelly-like globs, with a developing embryo visible inside each egg. The embryos usually appear as small dots inside each egg.
If you are interested in testing out your new knowledge of frog eggs, act quickly in the spring. The eggs usually only remain for a few weeks and the embryos develop rapidly.
If you ever arrive at a known breeding pond looking for frog egg masses but do not see any; check every day or two and you will most likely find egg masses when you return.
When you do find frog egg masses, it is important that you do not disturb or remove them from the water. Removing the eggs from the water can damage them, and in some cases even kill the small embryos developing inside the eggs.