Pseudacris nigrita (LeConte, 1825)
Southern Chorus Frog, Florida Chorus Frog
|Species Description: LeConte, J. E. (1825). "Remarks on the American species of the genera Hyla and Rana." Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New-York 1: 278–282.|
© 2011 Stephen Bennett (1 of 13)
At the time of hatching, larvae are approximately 4.5 mm long. The maximum length of larvae can be up to 35.0 mm long. Newly-transformed froglets are between 8.5 and 15.0 mm long (Gates 1988).
Pseudacris nigrita resembles cricket frogs of the genus Acris. However, cricket frogs have prominent stripes near their rear thigh, and these are absent in P. nigrita. Additionally, P. nigrita has a snout that is notably more pointed than other species of chorus frogs (Conant and Collins 1998).
In life, Pseudacris nigrita’s dorsal surface can be between tan and black in color, often with three dark, horizontal stripes or rows of dots. The middle stripe extends up to the snout, but not all individuals have it. The upper lip may have small spots, wavy streaks, or a distinct stripe of white. Pseudacris nigrita has a dark band extending from the snout to the groin, trailing along the side of the body. The limbs appear either striped or spotted, with darker bars along the tibia. The ventral surface is typically a pale yellow and may be speckled with dark spots. Males have smooth, green-ish yellow to orange throats (Gates 1988).
In life, at hatching, P. nigrita larvae have a light lateral stripe that extends from the eye to the tail. Dark melanophore spots can be seen in the dorsal tail fin, and the tail musculature is tan above and a dull yellow below. The chest and abdomen are dull yellow as well. Pseudacris nigrita at Gosner stage 37, have a dark brown dorsal surface with golden specks and black spots. The tail fins are covered with melanophores. The ventral surface is dark, except for the center of the abdomen, which is golden in color. This gold area often forms a triangle pointing anteriorly (Gates 1988).
Pseudacris nigrita is commonly split into two subspecies: Pseudacris nigrita nigrita and Pseudacris nigrita verrucosa. Like most chorus frogs, P. nigrita nigrita has a white upper lip. P. nigrita verrucosa, however, has a black upper lip (Conant and Collins 1998).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The P. nigrita call is described as a musical trill (Conant and Collins 1998). Frog calls can be heard at the beginning of the breeding season, in November, but large “choruses” -- used to describe large groups of calling frogs -- are not heard until December and January when it rains. Choruses and breeding behavior may be interrupted by cold weather, but the choruses continue largely-uninterrupted through March. By April, there are notably fewer choruses, but scattered calls can be heard through May (Martof and Thompson 1958).
Trends and Threats
Pseudacris nigrita is split into two subspecies: P. nigrita nigrita and P. nigrita verrucosa. However, Moriarty and Cannatella (2004) discourage the recognition and usage of these subspecies, claiming that they are uninformative.
The species epithet, “nigrita” is a reference to the overall dark coloration of Pseudacris nigrita (Gates 1988).
Conant, R. and Collins, J.T. (1998). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.
Gates, W.R. (1988). "Pseudacris nigrita." Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles, (416), 1-3. [link]
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. (2014). "Pseudacris nigrita". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T55894A64733885. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2014-3.RLTS.T55894A64733885.en. Downloaded in January 2021
LeConte, J.E. (1825). "Remarks on the American species of the genera Hyla and Rana." Annals of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York, 1, 278-282.
Martof, B.S., Thompson, E.F. (1958). "Reproductive behavior of the chorus frog, Pseudacris nigrita." Behaviour, 13(3-4), 243-257.
Moriarty Lemmon, E., Lemmon, A. R., Collins, J. T., Cannatella, D. C. (2008). "A new North American chorus frog species (Amphibia: Hylidae: Pseudacris) from the south-central United States." Zootaxa, 1675, 1-30. [link]
Moriarty, E.C., Cannatella D.C. (2004). “Phylogenetic relationships of the North American chorus frog (Pseudacris: Hylidae).” Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30: 409-420 [link]
Originally submitted by: Ann T. Chang (2021-05-17)
Description by: Ash Reining (updated 2021-05-17)
Distribution by: Ash Reining (updated 2021-05-17)
Life history by: Ash Reining (updated 2021-05-17)
Trends and threats by: Ann T. Chang (updated 2021-05-17)
Comments by: Ash Reining (updated 2021-05-17)
Edited by: Ann T. Chang (2021-05-17)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Pseudacris nigrita: Southern Chorus Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/1057> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 4, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 4 Oct 2023.
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