Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)

Photos by J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

Description: The Mountain Chorus Frog is a small (1-1.5 in; 25-38 mm) gray to olive frog with a marking on the back that resembles a reverse parentheses. Occasionally the parentheses will touch in the middle forming an X on the back. This is similar to the pattern of the Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer); however, the Mountain Chorus Frog usually can be identified by a dark triangle between the eyes that the Peeper lacks. The Mountain Chorus Frog also has a white line on the upper lip as is typical of chorus frogs. Yellow flash colors can be observed on the concealed portions and the underside of the leg. In our region the range of this species is extremely limited (north Georgia mountains) and range along is often sufficient to eliminate this species when trying to identify an unknown frog.

Range and Habitat: Mountain Chorus Frogs are found in two disjunct populations, one in the central Appalachian Mountains (West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) and one in central and northern Alabama. In our region this species is only found in a small section of the north Georgia Mountains. This species can be found in woodlands and forested areas, usually on hillsides at elevations of 3500 feet or higher. Shallow bodies of water are its preferred breeding sites, including spring and stream pools and ditches.

Habits: Little is known about the ecology of this secretive species. They are most often observed when they congregate at woodland pools in the early spring (March – May) to breed. Males call from open areas during both day and night. Tadpoles are small and take 40 – 65 days to mature. Adults are seldom seen in summer months and presumably reside in leaf litter and eat a variety of small invertebrates.

Call: The call of Chorus Frogs has been likened to the sound that a comb makes when a finger is run down the bristles. Pseudacris brachyphona‘s call is more rapid, high-pitched, and nasal sounding than that of the similar upland chorus frog (P. feriarum).

Conservation Status: Although little is known about this species in our region, it is thought to be declining in other parts of its range.

Pertinent Reference:
Moriarty, Emily C. and David. C. Cannatella. 2002. Phylogenetic Relationships
of the North American chorus frogs. (Pseudacris: Hylidae) Integrative Biology and the Texas Memorial Museum.

Account Author: Patia M. Connell, University of Georgia – edited by J.D. Willson