Pacific Chorus Frog

David Rosen/Wildside Photography

Common name: Pacific Chorus Frog

Scientific names: Pseudacris regilla
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Ranidae
Habitat: vernal pool grasslands, ponds and other still waters

Size: 1.5 to 5.0 cm

Description: The Pacific Chorus Frog is the only green or brown frog in our area with a dark “mask” across its eyes and “suction cups” on its toes. Often called the Pacific Treefrog, it uses these toe pads to help climb plants, trees, even walls and windows!

Fun facts: The call of the Pacific Chorus Frog is often heard during spring and summer evenings. Males make a “ri-bett,” or “kreck-ek” sound when calling for females. On some evenings, wetland areas can be almost deafening with the sound of thousands of these frogs trying to “out sing” each other. This sound is often recorded and used in movies during night scenes.

Life cycle: The Pacific Chorus Frog lays its eggs in vernal pools and other still water. The eggs hatch into tadpoles within 2 to 5 weeks. This frog even breeds in empty buckets and old, discarded tires! The tadpoles metamorphose into small frogs in one or two months. The tadpoles are a favorite food of the fierce Water Tigers (the aquatic larvae of Water Scavenger Beetles).

Ecology: Pacific Chorus Frogs are the most common frog in the Sacramento area. These frogs are an important part of wetland communities. Because they are so common, they provide food for many other animals, including raccoons, snakes, wading birds, ducks and even other frog species. The tadpoles eat Algae, detritus, Bacteria, Protozoa, Rotifers and small crustaceans. The adult frogs eat slugs, spiders, centipedes, and insects.

Investigate: As you’re walking through the vernal pool grasslands, listen for the distinctive call of the Pacific Chorus Frog. You will probably hear it several times. In early spring, egg clusters may be present in the water. Look carefully (without disturbing the water) for small, golf ball-sized clusters of clear eggs. They will be attached to sticks or plants. In spring and early summer, look for tadpoles at the water’s edge. Why are they all grouped together at the edge of the water? Where do you think the young frogs go when the water dries up?