The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

 ISSN 0268-0130

2021 Impact Factor from Clarivate for the Herpetological Journal is 1.194, an increase of 0.332 from 2020.

pdf 08. Frogs in pre-industrial Britain


Open Access

pp. 368-378

Authors: Lee Raye

Abstract: This paper examines the pre-industrial historical record of Britain’s anuran species. The records examined include especially
the writings of naturalists and physicians, most notably Gerald of Wales (1188), John of Gaddesden (c.1314), Edward Wotton
(1552), Timothie Bright (1580), Thomas Brown (1646), Robert Lovell (1660), Christopher Merrett (1667), Robert Sibbald (1684)
and John Morton (1712). The common frog is attested as present throughout the period. Several reliable historical records
are located that describe the presence or absence of a water frog species (Peloyphylax spp.: two records of presence, two of
absence) and the tree frog (Hyla arborea: five records of presence, three of absence). The moor frog (Rana arvalis) and agile
frog (Rana dalmatina) are not described separately – if present in the time period, they may have been considered varieties
of the common frog. The evidence of presence comes exclusively from England. The records taken together confirm the
presence of populations of water frogs between (at least) the fifteenth and eighteenth century, and provide new evidence
attesting to populations of tree frogs between the sixteenth century (when the species may have been introduced) and the
eighteenth century (when the species seems to have become locally extinct/locally distributed).

Keywords: pool frog, tree frog, native status, species history, historical analysis

Download Access:

The latest 8 issues can be downloaded when logged in with a Herpetological Journal subscription membership.

Individual articles can be purchased for download.

Older issues and occasional Open Access articles are available for public download


For further information and submission guidelines please see our Journal Instructions to Authors

pdfBHS Ethics Policy


Please note that as from Volume 31 Number 1 (January 2021) on, the Herpetological Journal will be available as an online publication only - the last print edition will be Volume 30 Number 4.   

Aligning with this change, it is now no longer possible to purchase a subscription that includes a print copy of the HJ.  All members who have existing HJ print subscriptions that remain active as at end June 2020 will receive the full four 2020 print editions.  New subscribers or renewals after this time will only have option to subscribe to the online only subscription package.  Subscription pricing has been amended to reflect the content changes.