Rana: the Latin for frog

palustris: from the Latin paluster, meaning "of the marsh"

As a wanderer, the pickerel frog uses poison as protection against predators.

The common name is derived from the frequent use of this frog as bait for pickerel fishing. The pickerel frog is also known as the poisonous frog since it secretes a poisonous fluid which discourages predators. This secretion also produces an unpleasant odour which does not make the pickerel frog appealing to eat. This frog is sometimes confused with the northern leopard frog, due to their similar appearance, but the pickerel frog is smaller, stays near water and is more agile. The inside of the thigh on pickerel frogs is yellow or yellow-orange, while in leopard frogs it is white.