Pseudacris nigrita - (LeConte, 1825)
Southern Chorus Frog
Other English Common Names: southern chorus frog
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pseudacris nigrita (LeConte, 1825) (TSN 173530)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106197
Element Code: AAABC05040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Frogs and Toads
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Anura Hylidae Pseudacris
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pseudacris nigrita
Taxonomic Comments: Hybridizes with P. triseriata at extreme western edge of range (Gates 1988). Prior to 1957, P. triseriata and P. nigrita were not regarded as separate species.

A molecular phylogeny of Pseudacris based on mtDNA data (Moriarty and Cannatella 2004) revealed four strongly supported clades within Pseudacris: (1) A West Coast Clade containing regilla and cadaverina, (2) a Fat Frog Clade including ornata, streckeri, and illinoensis, (3) a Crucifer Clade consisting of crucifer and ocularis, and (4) a Trilling Frog Clade containing all other Pseudacris. Within the Trilling Frog Clade, brimleyi and brachyphona form the sister group to the Nigrita Clade: nigrita, feriarum, triseriata, kalmi, clarkii, and maculata. The Nigrita Clade shows geographic division into three clades: (1) populations of maculata and triseriata west of the Mississippi River and Canadian populations, (2) southeastern United States populations of feriarum and nigrita, and (3) northeastern United States populations of feriarum, kalmi, and triseriata. Current taxonomy does not reflect the phylogenetic relationships among populations of the Nigrita Clade (Moriarty and Canatella 2004). For example, the molecular data appear to indicate that triseriata, maculata, and clarkii in the western United States are conspecific, but the authors indicated that further sampling and analysis of the Trilling Frog Clade are needed before their relationships can be determined and an appropriate taxonomy established. Moriarty and Cannatella (2004) found that subspecific epithets for crucifer (crucifer and bartramiana) and nigrita (nigrita and verrucosa) are uninformative, and they therefore discouraged recognition of these subspecies. They concluded that further study is needed to determine if illinoensis warrants status as a distinct species. Molecular data were consistent with retention of regilla, cadaverina, ocularis, and crucifer in the genus Pseudacris.

See Cocroft (1994) for a cladistic analysis of chorus frog phylogeny based on a combination of published morphological, biochemical, and behavioral data sets.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Feb2004
Global Status Last Changed: 13Nov2001
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Louisiana (SNR), Mississippi (S5), North Carolina (S2), South Carolina (SNR), Virginia (S3)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range encompasses the southeastern United States from Virginia (Hobson and Moriarty, 2003, Herpetol. Rev. 34:259-260) and eastern North Carolina south to southern Florida, and west to southern Mississippi (Conant and Collins 1991).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range (Gates 1988).

Short-term Trend: Unknown
Short-term Trend Comments: In Florida, still common in some areas, rare or absent in other areas where formerly common; unclear as to whether present scarcity is due to natural cyclicity or other causes (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: Southern chorus frogs thrive in highly disturbed landscapes and remain very common throughout most of their range.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range encompasses the southeastern United States from Virginia (Hobson and Moriarty, 2003, Herpetol. Rev. 34:259-260) and eastern North Carolina south to southern Florida, and west to southern Mississippi (Conant and Collins 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, VA

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Beaufort (37013)*, Brunswick (37019)*, Carteret (37031)*, Columbus (37047)*, Cumberland (37051), Hoke (37093), Onslow (37133)*, Pender (37141), Pitt (37147)*, Robeson (37155), Sampson (37163)*, Scotland (37165)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Lower Tar (03020103)+*, Pamlico (03020104)+*, White Oak River (03020301)+*, Upper Cape Fear (03030004)+, Lower Cape Fear (03030005)+*, Black (03030006)+*, Northeast Cape Fear (03030007)+, Lumber (03040203)+, Little Pee Dee (03040204)+, Coastal Carolina (03040208)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: The upper side is light gray to tan, dark brown, or black, with blackish stripes or spots in three rows. The skin is punctuated with many small warts. The upper lip has a white line or series of black spots. The snout is relatively pointed. In contrast to some other chorus frogs, there is no stripe on the rear of the thighs. The rear toes are weakly webbed. Maxoimum size is about 1.3 inches (3.2 cm) snout-vent length. Breeding males have a dark throat. Larvae are small, slender, and brown, with a gold or brassy belly; the tail fins begin at or behind the spiracle and are clear with numerous small dark marks. The tail musculature is dark. Larvae grow up to around 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) long.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding occurs from fall to early spring (winter peak) in the northern part of the range, in any month in Florida. Calling may occur day or night. Egg-laying usually is associated with heavy rains. Eggs hatch in several days. Aquatic larvae metamorphose into the terrestrial form in about 50 days (6-8 weks). Individuals are sexually mature in one year (Caldwell 1987) and few live longer than that. These frogs are seldom found outside the breeding season.
Ecology Comments: Population turnover was nearly annual in South Carolina (Caldwell 1987).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Southern chorus frogs migrate seasonally between nonbreeding terrestrial habitats and breeding sites.
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Southern chorus frogs inhabit pine flatwoods, pine-oak forests, sandhills, and cleared and otherwise disturbed habitats. Most of the year these frogs are primarily terrestrial, and they may burrow among plant material or into the ground when conditions are unsuitable for surface activity. Breeding sites include flooded grassy depressions, roadside ditches, margins of shallow ponds, sinkhole ponds, and other temporary pools, often including those in distrubed areas. Females attach eggs to submerged vegetation.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Metamorphosed frogs eat various small invertebrates obtained at ground level. Larvae eat organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Most activity occurs at night but also in daytime, especially during the breeding season.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 3 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Hylid Frogs (Treefrogs)

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy major highway such that frogs rarely if ever cross successfully; intensive urban development dominated by buildings and pavement and lacking suitable vegetated frog refuges.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Available information is limited but indicates that hylids generally exhibit limited movements on a short-term basis. In New Jersey, Freda and Morin (1984) and Freda and Gonzalez (1986) demonstrated that individual Hyla andersonii often travel distances of 100 m from breeding ponds during the nonbreeding season. In montane Colorado, Spencer (1964) found that Pseudacris triseriata range into wet meadows usually within about 700 m of their breeding sites and sometimes cross a few hundred meters of upland habitat. Kay (1989) determined that most Pseudacris cadaverina individuals range over small segments of streamcourse; 83 percent of movements were less than 25 m in a 1-year study. In Michigan, nonbreeding home range diameters of Pseudacris crucifer, established around forest debris and vegetation, ranged from 1.2 to 5.5 m (Delzell 1958).

Based on this information it appears that 1 km is an appropriate separation distance for unsuitable habitat. Despite limited data suggesting restricted movements, dispersal data are scant, and these frogs are clearly physically capable of long moves. It seems unlikely that occupied locations separated by a gap of less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Inferred extent distance pertains to distance from breeding sites.
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 25Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999b. A field guide to Florida reptiles and amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston, Texas. xvi + 278 pp.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Caldwell, J. P. 1987. Demography and life history of two species of chorus frogs (Anura: Hylidae) in South Carolina. Copeia 1987:114-127.

  • Cliburn, J.W. 1976. A key to the amphibians and reptiles of Mississippi. Fourth edition. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, Jackson, Mississippi. 71 pp.

  • Cocroft, R. B. 1994. A cladistic analysis of chorus frog phylogeny (Hylidae: Pseudacris). Herpetologica 50:420-437.

  • Conant, R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Second Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. xvii + 429 pp.

  • Conant, R. and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to reptiles and amphibians: eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts. 450 pp.

  • Crother, B. I. (editor). 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Sixth edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular 37:1-84.

  • Dundee, H.E., and D.A. Rossman. 1989. The amphibians and reptiles of Louisiana. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge. 300 pp.

  • ESHER, ROBERT J. AND DWITHT K. BRADSHAW, 1988. AN ECOLOGICAL SURVEY OF THE SSC AREA POTENTIALLY IMPACTED BY AN ADVANCED SOLID ROCKET MOTOR MANUFACTORY AND TEST FACILITY. MS. STATE RES. CENTER. 20 MAY. 45 PP.

  • Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.

  • Gates, W.R. 1988. Pseudacris nigrita. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 416:1-3.

  • Lemmon, E. M., A. R. Lemmon, J. T. Collins, J. A. Lee-Yaw, and D. C. Cannatella. 2007. Phylogeny-based delimitation of species boundaries and contact zones in the trilling chorus frogs (Pseudacris). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44:1068-1082.

  • Lemmon, E.M., A.R. Lemmon, J.T. Collins, and D.C. Cannatella. 2008. A new North American chorus frog species (Pseudacris: Hylidae: Amphibia) from the south-central United States. Zootaxa 1675:1-30.

  • Lohoefener, R. and R. Altig. 1983. Mississippi herpetology. Mississippi State University Research Center, NSTL Station, Mississippi. 66 pp.

  • Martof, B. S., W. M. Palmer, J. R. Bailey, and J. R. Harrison, III. 1980. Amphibians and reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 264 pp.

  • Mirarchi, R.E., editor. 2004. Alabama Wildlife. Volume 1. A checklist of vertebrates and selected invertebrates: aquatic mollusks, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. 209 pages.

  • Moriarty, E. C., and D. C. Cannatella. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships of the North American chorus frogs (Pseudacris: Hylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30:409-420.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pages.

  • Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians of Alabama. Auburn University Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama. vii + 347 pp.

  • SEYLE, W., AND G. K. WILLIAMSON. 1988 (IN PREP). REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS OF GEORGIA: RANGE MAPS

  • Wright, A.H., and A.A. Wright. 1949. Handbook of frogs and toads of the United States and Canada. Third edition. Comstock Publishing Company, Inc., Ithaca, NY.

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