Pacific Chorus Frog: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

folder_openNon Insects
comment1 Comment

The Pacific Chorus Frog, also known as the Pacific Treefrog, is a small yet fascinating species often found in the Pacific Northwest. Their distinctive call can be heard from Northern California all the way up to Canada and as far east as Montana. With a variety of colors ranging from bronze brown to light lime green, these frogs are easily recognizable by the dark stripe across each eye and rounded toe pads—a perfect addition to any wildlife enthusiast’s knowledge base.

Measuring only about two inches in length, the Pacific Chorus Frog is the smallest frog species in Oregon. Despite their size, they are highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats such as developed areas, wetlands, and forests. No major declining trends have been noted in their population, making them a stable and well-established species in their range. These tiny amphibians are important members of the local ecosystems, contributing to the control of insect populations and serving as a food source for various predators.

Physical Characteristics

Color and Patterns

Pacific Chorus Frog, or Pseudacris regilla, has a diverse range of colors, including:

  • Green
  • Red
  • Brown
  • Yellow
  • Gray

These frogs are known for their distinctive features, such as the dark eye stripe or “mask” and a dark patch on the throat of males. Their skin can also morph between different colors, allowing them to blend into their surroundings.

Size and Morphology

The Pacific Chorus Frog is a small species with an average size of around 2 inches in length. They have a slender body and long legs optimized for climbing. Some notable physical traits are:

  • Rounded toe pads with suction capabilities
  • Long, slender legs for jumping and climbing
  • Dark, horizontal stripe across each eye (mask)

Comparison Table: Pacific Chorus Frog vs. Northern Leopard Frog

Feature Pacific Chorus Frog Northern Leopard Frog
Size Around 2 inches 3 to 5 inches
Colors Green, red, brown, yellow, gray Green, brown, sometimes yellow-green
Distinctive Features Dark eye stripe, dark patch on male’s throat, suction toes Spotted pattern across the back, light-colored dorsolateral lines

In summary, Pacific Chorus Frogs are small, colorful amphibians with distinctive eye stripes and morphing skin colors. They possess suction toes and long, slender legs that aid in climbing and jumping.

Habitat and Distribution

Geographical Range

The Pacific Chorus Frog, also known as the Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla), can be found in various locations across the western parts of North America. They inhabit regions stretching from:

  • Alaska
  • British Columbia
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Idaho

Their presence extends from the West Coast to mountain ranges and even Vancouver Island.

Natural Habitats

Pacific Chorus Frogs are highly adaptable creatures, making their homes in a variety of habitats including:

  • Wetlands
  • Terrestrial grasslands
  • Woodlands
  • Forests
  • Ponds and lakes
  • Mountain regions

These frogs thrive in areas with ample vegetation, which they use for cover and support. Some of their preferred habitats are:

  • Dense grassy regions
  • Marshy areas near water sources
  • Wooded areas with underbrush

Pacific Chorus Frogs are known to persist even in developed and disturbed areas, making them a hardy and resilient species in their natural environments.

Behavior and Ecology

Diet and Feeding Habits

Pacific Chorus Frogs are opportunistic feeders that prey on various insects and invertebrates. Examples of their diet include:

  • Ants
  • Beetles
  • Spiders

They also consume other small invertebrates found in their habitats.

Daily and Seasonal Activity

Pacific Chorus Frogs are generally nocturnal, being most active at night. During the day, they hide under rocks, logs, and vegetation. Their activity patterns may differ depending on the temperature, as they are sensitive to climate change. During colder months, they become less active and may hibernate.

Interactions with Other Species

In the ecosystem, Pacific Chorus Frogs play a crucial role as both predator and prey. Their predators include:

  • Birds
  • Snakes
  • Raccoons

Their presence in urban areas indicates their adaptability to different environments. As amphibians, they serve as bioindicators for ecosystem health, being sensitive to changes in temperature and other environmental factors due to climate change.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Mating and Breeding Season

The breeding season for Pacific Chorus Frogs begins in early spring. Males move into aquatic breeding areas and start chorusing to attract females. They float at the surface or sit partially submerged in shallow water while producing advertisement calls, which help them find mates1.

Eggs and Tadpoles

Females lay egg masses containing up to 70 eggs each1. These eggs are attached to aquatic plants in shallow water. As they hatch, small tadpoles emerge and feed on algae in their watery environment2.

Features of Pacific Chorus Frog Eggs and Tadpoles Example
Egg masses Up to 70 eggs per mass1
Egg attachment Aquatic plants in shallow water1
Tadpole food Algae2

Metamorphosis and Development

Tadpoles eventually metamorphose into tiny froglets, only about the size of a thumbnail. They then transition to living on dry land1. Here’s how the metamorphosis occurs:

  • Larvae: Tadpoles have a more streamlined, aquatic body
  • Metamorphosis: As tadpoles grow, they begin to develop legs and lose their tails
  • Froglets: Post-metamorphosis, they become small froglets before reaching adulthood as Pacific Chorus Frogs

Pacific Chorus Frogs are versatile and adaptive, making them the most common frog species in Washington3.

Conservation and Threats

Conservation Status

The Pacific Chorus Frog is the most common frog species in Washington and has not experienced any major declining trends in the state according to NatureServe. This species can be found in a variety of habitats, including both developed and disturbed areas.

Human Impact

Local declines have been observed in some urbanized areas, however, the Pacific Chorus Frog seems to persist even in heavily impacted environments. One primary cause of these declines is habitat loss due to human development and land use changes. In addition, the introduction of non-native species, such as bullfrogs, can pose a threat to the native Pacific Chorus Frog population.

Climate Change

Climate change may affect the Pacific Chorus Frog in various ways. For example, rising temperatures and altered rainfall patterns can impact breeding sites, leading to changes in their distribution and population size. While available data and observations on the direct impact of climate change on these frogs is currently limited, understanding the potential consequences of climate change on the species’ ecology is important for future conservation efforts.

Footnotes

  1. https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/living/frogs 2 3 4 5

  2. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/how-build-simple-pond-native-frogs 2

  3. https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/pseudacris-regilla

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Pacific Chorus Frog

 

Subject: other animals
Location: Vancouver, WA
August 13, 2015 8:26 am
I love your website! You have helped me on more than one occasion. Do you know of a similar site to help one identify other animals? Specifically, today’s question regards a frog that a neighbor found in her upstairs bathroom in western washington this morning. She has a picture of it. I haven’t found one I’m sure of by searching images, so wondered if there is a good source to ask. Thanks!
Signature: Carla Dillenburg

Pacific Chorus Frog
Pacific Chorus Frog

Dear Carla,
The very loose definition we use for “Bug” is “things that crawl” so we do have an Amphibian category on our site.  This is a Pacific Tree Frog or Pacific Chorus Frog, and according to State Symbols USA:  “The Pacific chorus frog (also called Pacific tree frog) can be brown, tan, grey or green, and produce their charming sound by puffing up their throat sacs to three times the size of their heads.”  The site also notes:  “Washington designated the Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla) as the official state amphibian in 2007 (proposed by a third grade class at Boston Harbor Grade School in North Olympia, Washington). The Pacific chorus frog is a native amphibian found in every county of Washington state.”  California Herps has some nice images.

Thank you!  Is it possible it arrived in her second floor bathroom via plumbing?  She has no windows in that bathroom, and all other windows screened and closed.

We think not.  Tree Frogs climb quite well, and we would favor a window or accidental transport.

Letter 2 – Red Eyed Leaf Frog from Costa Rica: Not really a bug, but a gorgeous amphibian

 

February 21, 2010
Hi Bugman,
I think this beauty is a Parachuting Red-Eyed Leaf Frog. Found him in the vack yard at night.
Jordan
Costa Rica

Red Eyed Leaf Frog

Hi Jordan,
Since we already set up an Amphibian page to house our selfishly self-produced images of a California Salamander, we will also post your magnificent images of what we are trusting you have properly identified as a Parachuting Red-Eyed Leaf Frog.  We will also post that snake photo you supplied in the hope that someone might assist in the identification.

Red Eyed Leaf Frog

Correction
wrong ID on amphibian 2010
January 2, 2011 10:44 pm
hello!
just wanted to let you know the post from February 21, 2010 with the leaf frog or whatever they called it is wrong. It is a good old Red Eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas). What I think is one of the best looking animals on the planet!
cheers!
Signature: Bryna Belisle

Thanks Bryna,
We should try to locate a corresponding link to verify the identification.

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/animals/creaturefeature/red-eyed-tree-frogs/
here is one from National Georgaphic, though far from perfect, they
are usually on it!
Bryna

Authors

  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

    View all posts

Related Posts

1 Comment. Leave new

  • During the peak of the breeding season, huge numbers of males may gather on the same nights, creating an incredible din. Because Pacific Chorus Frogs are common in southern California, the sound of these choruses has been played in the background of many Hollywood movies.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

keyboard_arrow_up