Rana jiulingensis sp. nov., a new species from Hunan and Jiangxi, southeastern China, is described. The new species is assigned to the R. japonica group. The clade comprising R. jiulingensis sp. nov. and R. dabieshanensis from Anhui is the sister taxon of R. omeimontis from Sichuan. Rana jiulingensis sp. nov. can be distinguished by the significant divergences in the 16S and COI genes, and the combination of following morphological characters: body size medium, SVL 48.3–57.8 mm in adult males and 48.2–57.5 mm in adult females; dorsolateral fold straight; digits without circummarginal grooves; dorsal skin smooth; tibio-tarsal articulation reaching forward beyond the tip of snout; heels overlapping; webbing formula of toes: I 1⅓ – 2 II 1⅓ – 2⅓ III 1½ – 2⅔ IV 3 – 1⅓ V; absence of vocal sacs in males; and presence of creamy white nuptial pad with tiny hoar spines on the finger I and reddish tubercles on loreal and temporal regions in breeding males. Furthermore, based on our results and the previous literature, R. zhengi is synonymized with R. sangzhiensis , and a new species group, the Rana johnsi group, is proposed for the R. johnsi and R. sangzhiensis . Currently, the Rana contains 41 recognized species, and the phylogenetic placements of several species remain unresolved.