AmphibiaWeb - Pseudacris nigrita
AMPHIBIAWEB

 

(Translations may not be accurate.)

Pseudacris nigrita (LeConte, 1825)
Southern Chorus Frog, Florida Chorus Frog
family: Hylidae
subfamily: Hylinae
genus: Pseudacris
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.
Pseudacris nigrita
© 2021 Zachary A. Cava (1 of 13)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
NatureServe Use NatureServe Explorer to see status.
CITES No CITES Listing
National Status None
Regional Status None
conservation needs Access Conservation Needs Assessment Report .

   

 
Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (2 records).

Description
Pseudacris nigrita is a small frog with a snout-vent length ranging from 19 - 32 mm. The head and body are narrow, and the snout is pointed. There’s basal webbing between the second, third, and fourth toes. The tips of the digits are moderately expanded (Gates 1988).

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). Pseudacris fouquettei hybridizes with P. nigrita along the border between Louisiana and Mississippi (Gartside 1980) but outside of the contact zone can be distinguished by color pattern, with P. fouquettei having three brown longitudinal stripes or rows of spots on a pale tan or gray dorsum, and a white labial stripe (vs. comparatively darker broken dorsal stripes or spots in P. nigrita, and wider, dark brown to nearly black transverse bars on the hind limbs) (Moriarty Lemmon et al. 2008).

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

 
Berkeley mapper logo

View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
amphibiandisease logo View Bd and Bsal data (2 records).
Pseudacris nigrita can be found in most regions of the southeastern United States, including in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. They largely inhibit inner wetlands and forest habitats (IUCN 2014).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Pseudacris nigrita breeds in a variety of small, shallow waters, including small ponds, puddles, and roadside ditches. Some specimens have also been collected from meadows and woods (Martof and Thompson 1958). Ideal breeding locations have shallow water and many kinds of grass and vegetation. Their breeding season is long, beginning in November and ending in April. The most active breeding occurs during rainy weather (Martof and Thompson 1958).

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 has an IUCN status of "Least Concern" because of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and apparent tolerance to habitat modification. Local subpopulations are threatened by clear-cutting and urbanization, but overall, the species does not have any major threats.

Comments
Parsimony, Maximum Likelihood, and Bayesian methods were used to analyze 12S, tRNAval, and 16S rRNA mtDNA genes of the Pseudacris genus, with consistent results. Four distinct clades were identified: West Coast, Fat Frogs, Crucifer, and Trilling Frogs. Pseudacris nigrita is a member of the “trilling frog clade,” which includes the nigrita clade and a sister group of P. brimleyi and P. brachyphona (Moriarty and Cannatella 2004). The nigrita clade includes P. clarkii, P. feriarum, P. fouquettei P. kalmi, P. maculata, P. nigrita, and P. triseriata . The nigrita clade was further split into three clades based on geographic divisions: those west of the Mississippi River, including P. maculata and triseriata, those in the southeastern United States, P. fouquettei and P. nigrita, and northeastern US species including P. feriarum, P. kalmi, and P. triseriata. The sister species of P. nigrita is P. fouquettei, which was described in 2008 (Moriarty and Cannatella 2004, Moriarty Lemmon et al. 2008).

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.

This species is known to hybridize with P. fouquettei within a narrow range in Southeastern Louisiana and Southwestern Mississippi (Gartside 1980). It was assumed that the small size of this hybrid zone suggested that the hybrids were less fit than the parental species (Moriarty Lemmon et al. 2007). However, in 2016, Engebretsen et al. found that the hybrid zone has substantially widened, indicating that the region is not a tension zone, with strong selection against hybrids, but that hybrids are relatively fit. Hybrids are more common than in the past, and more widespread. The sister taxa appear to be gradually merging. Monitoring the zone should be a research priority for future workers.

The species epithet, “nigrita” is a reference to the overall dark coloration of Pseudacris nigrita (Gates 1988).

This species was featured in News of the Week July 25, 2016:

The Cajun Chorus Frog, Pseudacris fouquettei, the most recently named frog in the United States, hybridizes with the Southern Chorus Frog, Pseudacris nigrita. A hybrid zone exists across the lower Pearl River at the Louisiana-Mississippi border. Since the zone was first characterized in 1980, its center has remained stable. However, it has widened substantially (Engebretsen et al 2016). This indicates that the region is not a tension zone, with strong selection against hybrids, but that hybrids are relatively fit. Hybrids are more common than in the past, and more widespread. The sister taxa appear to be gradually merging. Monitoring the zone should be a research priority for future workers. (Written by David Wake)

References

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.

Engebretsen, K. N., Barrow, L. N., Rittmeyer, E. N., Brown, J. M., Lemmon, E. M. (2016). ''Quantifying the spatiotemporal dynamics in a chorus frog (Pseudacris) hybrid zone over 30 years.'' Ecol Evol, 6, 5013-5031.

Gartside, D. F. (1980). ''Analysis of a hybrid zone between chorus frogs of the Pseudacris nigrita complex in the Southern United States.'' Copeia, 1980(1), 56-66.

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 Lemmon, E., Lemmon, A. R., Collins, J.T., Lee-Yaw, J. A., Cannatella, D.C. (2007). "Phylogeny-based delimitation of species boundaries and contact zones in the trilling chorus frogs (Pseudacris)." Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 44, 1068-1082. [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, Ann T. Chang (updated 2024-01-25)
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 2024-01-25)
Comments by: Ash Reining, Ann T. Chang (updated 2024-01-25)

Edited by: Ann T. Chang, David Wake (2024-01-25)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2024 Pseudacris nigrita: Southern Chorus Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/1057> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 21, 2024.



Feedback or comments about this page.

 

Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 21 Jul 2024.

AmphibiaWeb's policy on data use.