Pseudacris regilla - (Baird and Girard, 1852)
Pacific Treefrog
Other English Common Names: Pacific Chorus Frog, Pacific treefrog
Synonym(s): Hyla regilla
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pseudacris regilla (Baird and Girard, 1852) (TSN 207313)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.857719
Element Code: AAABC05100
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: Recuero, E., I. Martínez-Solano, G. Parra-Olea, and M. García-París. 2006a. Phylogeography of Pseudacris regilla (Anura: Hylida) in western North America, with a proposal for a new taxonomic rearrangement. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39:293-304. [Taxonomic errors in this publication were corrected by Recuero, Martínez-Solano, Parra-Olea, and García-París. 2006. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41:511.]
Concept Reference Code: A06REC01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pseudacris regilla
Taxonomic Comments: Recuero et al. (2006) examined patterns of mtDNA variation (including new samples and additional samples presented by Ripplinger and Wagner 2004) and reviewed available allozyme data for Pseudacris regilla (sensu lato). They concluded that P. regilla should be partitioned into three species, P. regilla, P. sierra, and P. hypochondriaca (the original proposal included different names based on taxonomic errors that were subsequently corrected). The authors did not provide detailed maps or descriptions of the ranges of the three proposed species and did not describe the contact zones between P. sierra and the other two species. Subsequent nuclear DNA data (Barrow et al. 2014) did not support the taxonomy proposed by Recuero et al. (2006).

This species formerly was included in the genus Hyla; it was transferred to the genus Pseudacris by Hedges (1986), based on allozyme data (see also Highton 1991). Cocroft (1994) analyzed morphological and biochemical data and concluded that the Hyla regilla-Hyla cadaverina clade does not arise within the clade containing Pseudacris (traditional sense), P. ocularis, and P. crucifer; he suggested that the most conservation approach may be to leave regilla and cadaverina in the genus Hyla until their relationships are more clearly resolved. da Silva (1997) recommended that for now Hedges' (1986) definition of Pseudacris should be maintained.

Highton (2000) reviewed available allozyme data from Case et al. (1975) and concluded that P. regilla likely encompasses more than one species but that further range-wide study is needed to clarify the situation.

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.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 31Aug2016
Global Status Last Changed: 13Nov2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by calculator
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (03Nov2008)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (12Sep2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (SNR), California (SNR), Montana (S4), Oregon (S5), Washington (S5)
Canada British Columbia (S5)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Low) (26Jan2015)
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: The range of P. regilla (sensu lato) extends from southern British Columbia in Canada southward through the United States to southern Baja California, Mexico, and east to Montana, Idaho, and Nevada. The species also occurs on the Channel Islands off southern California (Stebbins 2003). Desert populations in southern California probably were introduced, as were some populations in Arizona. An introduced population occurs in the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia (Reimchen 1990), Canada, and on Revillagigedo Island in Alexander Archipelago, Alaska, where it was introduced in 1960 and is breeding (Waters 1992, Hodge 2004). Overall elevational range extends from sea level to around 3,540 meters (Stebbins 2003).

Under the taxonomic arrangement proposed by Recuero et al. (2006), the distributions of the species in the P. regilla complex presumably would be approximately as follows (Recuero et al. did not provide distributional details):

P. regilla: extreme southern Alaska (introduced), British Coumbia, Washington, western Oregon, and northern California.

P. sierra: central California, Nevada, eastern Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, and presumably extreme northwestern Utah (extirpated?).

P. hypochondriaca: southern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah (extirpated?), and western Arizona south to southern Baja California.

This frog is well distributed along 90 km of the lower Colorado River and its backwaters from Davis Camp, just below Davis Dam, to Castle Rock in upper Lake Havasu, but the native versus exotic status of these populations is unclear (Rorabaugh et al. 2004). In Arizona, this species has been recorded as an apparent introduction at Middle Spring and a nearby stock tank in the Virgin Mountains, Mohave County, and at two central Arizona plant nurseries (Rorabaugh et al. 2004). It persisted for at least 19 years and successfully bred at one nursery, where it was reportedly introduced on ornamental plants imported from San Diego (Rorabaugh et al. 2004).
 

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

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 100,000. The specoies is widely distributed and common in the Pacific Northwest (Leonard et al. 1993).

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: In most areas this species faces no major threats. It lives and breeds in a large number of natural and highly altered habitats. Introduced mosquitofish (Gambusia) prey heavily on larvae and may negatively affect local populations (Goodsell and Kats 1999). However, this is not a pervasive threat. In lakes in the Sierra Nevada, distribution and abundance were negatively related to non-native trout presence (Matthews et al. 2001).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Population trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain, but overall distribution and abundance probably have been stable to slightly declining.

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)) The range of P. regilla (sensu lato) extends from southern British Columbia in Canada southward through the United States to southern Baja California, Mexico, and east to Montana, Idaho, and Nevada. The species also occurs on the Channel Islands off southern California (Stebbins 2003). Desert populations in southern California probably were introduced, as were some populations in Arizona. An introduced population occurs in the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia (Reimchen 1990), Canada, and on Revillagigedo Island in Alexander Archipelago, Alaska, where it was introduced in 1960 and is breeding (Waters 1992, Hodge 2004). Overall elevational range extends from sea level to around 3,540 meters (Stebbins 2003).

Under the taxonomic arrangement proposed by Recuero et al. (2006), the distributions of the species in the P. regilla complex presumably would be approximately as follows (Recuero et al. did not provide distributional details):

P. regilla: extreme southern Alaska (introduced), British Coumbia, Washington, western Oregon, and northern California.

P. sierra: central California, Nevada, eastern Oregon, Idaho, western Montana, and presumably extreme northwestern Utah (extirpated?).

P. hypochondriaca: southern California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah (extirpated?), and western Arizona south to southern Baja California.

This frog is well distributed along 90 km of the lower Colorado River and its backwaters from Davis Camp, just below Davis Dam, to Castle Rock in upper Lake Havasu, but the native versus exotic status of these populations is unclear (Rorabaugh et al. 2004). In Arizona, this species has been recorded as an apparent introduction at Middle Spring and a nearby stock tank in the Virgin Mountains, Mohave County, and at two central Arizona plant nurseries (Rorabaugh et al. 2004). It persisted for at least 19 years and successfully bred at one nursery, where it was reportedly introduced on ornamental plants imported from San Diego (Rorabaugh et al. 2004).
 

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, MT, OR, WA
Canada BC

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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General Description: Dorsal color highly variable: usually green or brown, but also gray, tan, bronze, blackish, or reddish, often with irregular dark spots or blotches ; toe tips expanded; dark stripe from snout to shoulder; snout-vent length up to about 5 cm. Mature male: dark throat; breeding call is a loud repeated kreck-ek. Larvae: brown or olive, often with spotting or mottling; eyes wide apart, at margin of head when viewed from above; to about 44 mm long. Egg masses: soft loose clumps of around 10-80 eggs, attached to objects in shallow water; each eggs surrounded by two jelly envelopes (requires magnification).
Reproduction Comments: Breeding occurs generally in winter or spring (sometimes in summer), with the earliest breeding occurring in lowland areas in the southern part of the range: mid-May to early August in northern California, January-June in southern California, late April-early May in northern Idaho. Eggs are laid in packets of about 20-80, hatch in 3-5 weeks in western Oregon. Larvae metamorphose into tiny frogs within about 2-3 months. In northern Idaho, metamorphosis occurred in mid- to late summer (Schaub and Larsen 1978). Most breeders are at least 2 years old, but some individuals may mature in less than 1 year in western Oregon (Nussbaum et al. 1983). Multiple clutches per year have been documented in southern California (Perrill and Daniel 1983).

Calling frequently occurs outside the breeding season and far away from breeding sites.


Ecology Comments: Weitzel and Panik (1993) reported on a northwestern Nevada population that exibited long-term persistence despite periodic catastrophic flooding and stream dry-ups that prevented successful reproduction in some years.

Larvae are preyed upon by carnivorous aquatic insects, bullfrogs, garter snakes, and many birds and mammals. Important predators on adults include garter snakes.

Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Individuals migrate up to several hundred meters between breeding sites and nonbreeding upland habitats.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, Moderate gradient, Pool
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Pacific treefrogs occupy a wide variety of habitats, including grassland, shrubland, woodland, forest, and farmland. They live on land except during the breeding season. They spend much time on the ground, but after the breeding season they commonly bask on the leaves of broad-leaved evergreen shrubs far from water, and sometimes they climb high into trees. Females deposit eggs in shallow water of marshes, lakes, ponds, ditches, reservoirs and slow-moving streams (Stebbins 2003), sometimes in weakly brackish water (Gardner, 1995, Herpetological Review 26:32).

See Munger et al. (1998) for quantitative information on habitat in southwestern Idaho.

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Known to eat beetles, flies, spiders, ants, and ispopods, etc. Larvae scape periphyton off rocks, eat filamentous algae and epiphytic diatoms in floating mats, bottom feed on benthic detritus, and surface feed on films of diatoms and pollen (Kupferberg et al., Copeia 1994:446-457).
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: Like many terrestrial amphibians, these frogs are inactive during freezing weather and extreme drought.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 5 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: 31Aug2016
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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  • Highton, R. 2000. Detecting cryptic species using allozyme data. Pages 215-241 in R. C. Bruce, R. G. Jaeger, and L. D. Houck, editors. The biology of plethodontid salamanders. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York. xiii + 485 pp.

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  • Matthews, K. R., K. L. Pope, H. K. Preisler, and R. A. Knapp. 2001. Effects of nonnative trout on Pacific treefrogs (Hyla regilla) in the Sierra Nevada. Copeia 2001:1130-1137.

  • 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.

  • Munger, J. C., M. Gerber, K. Madrid, M.-A. Carroll, W. Petersen, and L. Heberger. 1998. U.S. National Wetland Inventory classifications as predictors of the occurrence of Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) and Pacific treefrogs (Hyla regilla). Conservation Biology 12:320-330.

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  • Recuero, E., I. Martínez-Solano, G. Parra-Olea, and M. García-París. 2006a. Phylogeography of Pseudacris regilla (Anura: Hylida) in western North America, with a proposal for a new taxonomic rearrangement. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 39:293-304. [Taxonomic errors in this publication were corrected by Recuero, Martínez-Solano, Parra-Olea, and García-París. 2006. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41:511.]

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