Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) This species is known from south-central United States (north to Kansas, south through Oklahoma and Texas) to extreme northeastern Mexico (Conant and Collins 1991, Collins 1993, Lemmon et al. 2007). In Mexico it is only known from the lower Rio Grande Valley in Tamaulipas, west to Matamoros, in extreme northeastern Tamaulipas. It was reported from Colfax County, northeastern New Mexico, apparently extending range about 325 km west (Herp. Rev. 22:64), but that specimen was later identified as P. triseriata (Degenhardt et al. 1996) [now P. maculata].
Length: 3 cm
Catalog Number: USNM 3313
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Locality: Galveston, Texas, United States, North America
- Syntype: Baird, S. F. 1854. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. 7 (2): 60.
Habitat and Ecology
Comments: Habitat includes open prairie grasslands, pastures, meadows, shrubby areas, lawns near breeding habitat, and the edges of woodlands (Collins 1993, Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). This frog is most abundant near the edges of shallow semipermanent to permanent ponds, irrigation canals, and cattle tanks (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). It goes underground when inactive. Eggs and larvae develop in temporary rain pools and sometimes in permanent ponds.
Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.
Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Migrates variable distance between breeding pools and nonbreeding terrestrial habitats.
Comments: Metamorphosed frogs eat various small invertebrates obtained at or near ground level. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.
10,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 10,000. This frog is abundant in Texas (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999) and south-central Kansas (Collins 1993).
Life History and Behavior
Comments: Inactive during summer dry spells and during cold season in north. Primarily nocturnal but also diurnal when breeding.
Lays clutch of up to 1000 eggs (deposited in small clusters) usually after rains in spring or summer but in virtually any month in south. Aquatic larvae metamorphose into terrestrial form by late summer.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2004Least Concern
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%
Comments: Current population trend is unknown but probably stable to slightly declining.
Global Long Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 50%
Comments: Over the long term, likley stable in extent of occurrence; unknown degree of decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences.
Over the long term, likley stable in extent of occurrence; unknown degree of decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences. Current population trend is unknown but probably stable to slightly declining.
Degree of Threat: Medium
Comments: No major threats are known. Various kinds of habitat loss and degradation attributable to human activities (e.g., urbanization, intensive agriculture) undoubtedly have caused localized declines.
Spotted chorus frog
The spotted chorus frog or Clark's tree frog (Pseudacris clarkii) is a small, nocturnal tree frog native to the grasslands and prairies of the central United States and Tamaulipas, Mexico. It is found from central Kansas, Oklahoma, and northeastern New Mexico to the Gulf of Mexico and Rio Grande valley in Texas and Tamaulipas.
Spotted chorus frogs are generally a grey or olive green in color, with lighter green mottling on their backs, and white in color on their undersides. They grow to a maximum of 1.25 inches (about 3–4 cm).
- Santos-Barrera & Hammerson (2004). Pseudacris clarkii. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes a range map and justification for why this species is of least concern. IUCN RangeMap:
- Amphibian Species of the World: Pseudacris clarkii
- Herps of Texas: Pseudacris clarkii
Names and Taxonomy
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.