Description: Ornate Chorus Frogs are small frogs
1 - 1.5 in (2.5-3.2 cm) with small round toe tips. They are among
the most colorful of the frogs in our region and come in gray,
green, and reddish-brown color phases. They have a black
mask-like stripe across their eye, distinguishing them from
other small frogs in our region, and additional dark markings
on their sides and groin. This species can also have yellow on
the groin along with small yellow spots on the insides of their
Range and Habitat: Upland Chorus Frogs are found throughout
the eastern US, but are primarily restricted to the Piedmont.
Although this species is generally replaced by P. nigrita
in the Coastal Plain, there are a few isolated P. feriarum
populations in the South Carolina Coastal Plain. They are found
in grassy areas, woodlands, wetlands, and bogs. Ornate chorus
frogs are found only in the Coastal Plain of the Southeastern
U.S. and are absent from southern peninsular Florida. They can
be found in a variety of wooded habitats but are most common in
xeric upland habitats such as Sandhills and pine flatwoods. They
breed in small bodies of temporary water (e.g., cypress ponds,
ditches, flooded meadows, and Carolina Bays), and are particularly
found of open grassy fishless wetlands. This species is secretive
and is rarely seen outside of its winter breeding season.
Habits: The Ornate chorus frog is nocturnal and is most
often seen on rainy winter nights. Breeding occurs from November
to March, generally earlier than spring peepers. Males call from
grassy wetlands and females deposit 10-100 eggs in shallow water
attached to vegetation. Hatching takes place in 1-2 weeks and
is temperature dependent. Metamorphosis occurs in 2-3 months and
metamorphs are nearly adult size when the leave wetlands.
Call: The call of the Ornate Chorus Frog is a sharp, metallic
"tink," often repeated in succession.
Conservation Status: These frogs are considered common
and are not protected in our region. Ornate chorus frogs do not
have state, federal, or heritage ranking and are not uncommon.
As with many amphibians, issues of concern include environmental
pollution, disease, and most significantly, habitat destruction
Caldwell, J. 1987. Demography and life history of two species
of chorus frogs (Anura: Hylidae) in South Carolina. Copeia 1987(1):
Pechmann, J. K. and R. D. Semlitsch. 1986. Diel activity patterns
in the breeding migrations of winter-breeding anurans. Canadian
Journal of Zoology 64: 1116-1120.
Account Author: Kimberly Andrews, University of Georgia
- edited by J.D. Willson