Photo by Jeff Hall
Scientific Name: Pseudacris ornata
Classification: Nongame species-State Listed as Endangered
Range: Southern Coastal Plain (blue)
The call of the ornate chorus frog, which can be heard from December to March, is a shrill, bird-like peep that resembles the call of a spring peeper but is more rapid, metallic and monotonic.
The ornate chorus frog is a small, stout frog that is usually reddish brown but can also be tan, grayish or green. It has a bold black stripe runs through each eye to the shoulder, and dark spots on the sides, lower back and near the groin. The groin and underside of each thigh are spotted with bright yellow.
These frogs live in pine stands and pine savannas in the southern Coastal Plain. They are primarily nocturnal and are seldom encountered outside the breeding season. Ornate chorus frogs call from December to March. They breed in temporary ponds and females deposit clusters of 10 to 100 eggs on vegetation. Tadpoles metamorphose in eight to 12 weeks.
Populations of ornate chorus frogs are disappearing in North Carolina due to destruction of temporary wetlands in longleaf pine ecosystems. The ornate chorus is state listed as Endangered and cannot be collected or taken except under a special permit issued by the Wildlife Commission’s Executive Director. More information
There are no reported problems with this species.
Frogs and toads can be monitored fairly easily in a variety of ways. One way is through frog call monitoring. The North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program attempts to do just that by corralling data collected by volunteers across the state that monitors specific frog call routes. Each species of frog and toad has a unique call that is distinguishable from others. Some are more difficult for humans to separate than others, but the frogs know who’s who! Learn your frog calls, and you too can distinguish who’s calling in the ponds. Another way to monitor frogs and toads is by looking for egg masses deposited in wetlands and/or by looking for tadpoles in those same wetlands. Different frogs breed at different times of the year, so when to look for eggs is dependent on the species of interest. Eggs typically hatch within a couple weeks of being deposited, so there is a fairly short window for detection. Frog eggs can sometimes be identified to family, but are somewhat tricky to identify to species level. Tadpole identification can be similarly tricky, so learning and listening to frog calls is definitely the easiest method for determining what frogs and toads are using a wetland. Tadpoles are a little easier to monitor, as most species have tadpoles present in wetlands for longer periods of time. This is, again, variable by species. Most species have tadpole stages that last at least several months, but the range in timing for different species is everything from a couple of weeks to several years. The smaller frog and toad species tend to have shorter tadpole cycles, while the larger frogs and toads tend to have longer times to metamorphosis.
Wildlife Diversity Program Quarterly Reports
Protected Wildlife Species of North Carolina Listings (PDF)