Pseudacris triseriata - (Wied-Neuwied, 1838)
Western Chorus Frog
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pseudacris triseriata (Wied-Neuwied, 1838) (TSN 173525)
French Common Names: rainette faux-grillon de l'Ouest
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.806626
Element Code: AAABC05150
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
Concept Reference: 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.
Concept Reference Code: A07LEM01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pseudacris triseriata
Taxonomic Comments: 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. 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.

Using mtDNA samples from a large number of localities throughout North America, Lemmon et al. (2007) elucidated the phylogenetic relationships and established the geographic ranges of the trilling chorus frogs (Pseudacris). They redefined the ranges of several taxa, including P. maculata, P. triseriata, and P. feriarum; found strong evidence for recognizing P. kalmi as a distinct species; and discovered a previously undetected species in the south-central United States (to be described in a forthcoming publication). Based on mtDNA data, Pseudacris maculata and P. clarkii did not emerge as distinct, monophyletic lineages but, given the degree of morphological and behavioral divergence between the taxa, Lemmon et al. (2007) chose to recognize them as separate species, until further data suggest otherwise.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Jun2015
Global Status Last Changed: 01Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (23Jan2007)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4 (05Jun2015)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Illinois (SNR), Indiana (S4), Kentucky (S5), Michigan (S5), New York (S4), Ohio (SNR), Pennsylvania (S1)
Canada Ontario (S4)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):T,NAR
Comments on COSEWIC: The species was considered a single unit and designated Not at Risk in May 2001. Split into two populations in April 2008. The Great Lakes / St. Lawrence - Canadian Shield population was designated Threatened and the Carolinian population was designated Not at Risk.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range includes portions of southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States, from Michigan (Lower Peninsula), southern Ontario, and western New York through Indiana, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania to southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and northwestern Tennessee (Lemmon et al. 2007).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations).

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 100,000. This frog is common in much of its large range.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: These frogs are tolerant of some forms of habitat alteration (e.g., clearing of forest), but loss of wetlands, forest expansion, and unknown factors (possibly including agricultural chemicals, drought, and chytrid fungus) have caused declines in some areas (Gibbs et al. 2007).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are slowly declining, but the rate of decline is unknown.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <50% to Relatively Stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Over the long term, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably have declined, but the degree of decline is uncertain. Minton (2001) stated that this species was numerous in Indiana in 1945-1970, declined markedly during 1975-1985, and apparently has increased since then. In discussing P. triseriata and P. maculata as a single species, Gibbs et al. (2007) cited declines in New York state during the period 1970-2000. Moriarty and Lannoo (in Lannoo 2005) also cited declines in the northeastern United States and adjacent Canada.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (20,000-2,500,000 square km (about 8000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range includes portions of southeastern Canada and the northeastern United States, from Michigan (Lower Peninsula), southern Ontario, and western New York through Indiana, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania to southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and northwestern Tennessee (Lemmon et al. 2007).

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 IL, IN, KY, MI, NY, OH, PA
Canada ON

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Habitats include damp meadows, marshes, forest edges, bottomland swamps, and temporary ponds, particularly in open country (Minton 2001, Gibbs et al. 2007). Formerly this frog was plentiful in agricultural and suburban situations in Indiana, but this is no longer the case (Minton 2001). Winter is spent underground or under surface cover. Breeding sites include quiet, shallow, usually temporary water with submerged and low emergent vegetation, especially rain-flooded meadows and ditches and temporary ponds in floodplains (Minton 2001, Gibbs et al. 2007).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Detritivore, Herbivore, Scavenger
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26May2008
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26May2008
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).

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  • Lemmon, E.M., A.R. Lemmon, J.T. Collins, J.A. Lee-Yaw, 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.

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