Pseudacris clarkii
(Baird 1854)

sū-dā'-krĭs — clär-kī

An adult specimen from Chautauqua County. Image © Suzanne L. Collins.
A tadpole of Pseudacris clarkii. Image © Altig et al. (2006).

Spotted Chorus Frogs are grey to olive green in color, with black-edged green to dark green irregularly spaced blotches on their backs. They often have a triangle-shaped green blotch on top of the head between their eyes. The belly is light-colored and unspotted, but the throats of chorusing males are darkened.
Adults normally 19-28 mm (¾ to 1-1/8 inches) in SVL; largest Kansas specimen: male (KU 4515) from Rush County with a total length of 31 mm (1¼ inches) collected by Theodore E. White on 12 August 1927; maximum length throughout range: 1¼ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

South-central portions of the state. Generally confined to the drainages south of, and including the Arkansas and Verdigris rivers. 
The observations from Allen, Coffey, Labette, and McPherson counties were reported via the Kansas Anuran Monitoring Program (KAMP). KAMP records are by call only (visual identification is not required). Spotted Chorus Frog calls are easily confused with those of the Boreal Chorus Frogs, and therefore, these records need to be corroborated with specimens

(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 361 Total Records 
  • 205 Museum Vouchers 
  • 156 Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Allen (1); Barber (29); Barton (1); Butler (6); Chautauqua (19); Clark (8); Coffey (2); Comanche (46); Cowley (11); Ellis (15); Finney (3); Ford (1); Gray (7); Greenwood (14); Harper (37); Haskell (6); Hodgeman (1); Kiowa (12); Labette (12); McPherson (2); Meade (15); Montgomery (11); Ness (1); Pawnee (12); Pratt (1); Rush (7); Russell (1); Sedgwick (30); Seward (2); Sumner (47); Unknown (1);

Natural History:
They are found in open prairie grasslands and pastures. They breed in shallow ponds, cattle tanks, and ephemeral streams. As winter approaches, they burrow under thatch and loose earth until March and April rains bring them out again. The call is a raspy trill wrraaay-wrraaay-wrraaay repeated 20-30 times rapidly. They call from March into June.

Occurrence Activity:
The blue dates denote chorusing actity. The red ates are other occurrences. The darker a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.

Audio recording by Keith Coleman.

Chorusing Phenology: The black dots illustrate the actual Julian date (day of the year; 1 January = 1 to 31 December = 365) observations were made. The thin red line depicts the range of dates between the beginning of the first, and end of the fourth quartile (excluding outliers; Tukey method). The thick light blue bar represents the second and third quartile (interquartile range; the middle 50% of all observations). Only one observation per Julian date is included in the graphs; so a date with multiple observations carries the same weight as a date with only one observation. The vertical bars correspond to the 12 months of the year; January through December.
# Unique Obervations: 163; Range: 22 Mar to 28 Aug; Interquartile range: 22 Apr to 03 Jun;

The Spotted Chorus Frog was first reported in Kansas by Smith, (1950). The earliest existing specimen is from 1892 (USNM 45828).
The records mapped for Ellis and Russell counties by Collins (1993) are in need of verification. There are pockets of Boreal Chorus Frogs along Big Creek and the Smoky Hill River in these two counties which posses broken striping and resemble Spotted Chorus Frog. These northern spotted Pseudacris do not have green blotches as do most Spotted Chorus Frogs, and instead, are colored as typical Boreal Chorus Frogs. Live specimens are needed to verify their presence.
Moriarty and Cannatella (2004), Moriarty (2007), and Moriarty et al. (2008) found that Pseudacris clarkii and Pseudacris maculata were not reciprocally monophyletic.

1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
1962 Gish, Charles D. The Herpetofauna of Ellis County, Kansas. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 34pp.
1980 Clarke, Robert F. Herptiles and fishes of the western Arkansas River in Kansas. United States Army Corps of Engineers, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 55pp.
1990 Pierce, Benjamin A. and Patricia H. Whitehurst. Pseudacris clarkii. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (458):1-3
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
2003 Taggart, Travis W. Kansas Herpetological Society 2003 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (5):3-4
2004 Delisle, Jennifer M. and William H. Busby Biological inventory for vertebrates at Fort Larned National Historic Site of the southern plains network. Natural Heritage Inventory, Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 61pp.
2004 Moriarty, Emily C. and David C. Cannatella Phylogenetic relationships of the North American Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris: Hylidae) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30():409-420
2006 Altig, Ronald, Roy W. McDiarmid, Kimberly A. Nichols, and Paul C. Ustach Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key Electronic files accessible at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. ():
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2007 Moriarty-Lemmon, Emily. Patterns and Processes of Speciation in North American Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris). Dissertation. University of Texas, Austin. 304pp.
2008 Moriarty-Lemmon, Emily, Alan R. Lemmon, Joseph T. Collins, and David C. Cannatella A new North American chorus frog species (Amphibia: Hylidae: Pseudacris) from the south-central United States. Zootaxa (1675):1-30
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2010 Miller, Larry L. 2010 Investigation of the Checkered Garter Snake in Kansas with notes on other Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles encountered. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 31pp.
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2014 Barrow, Lisa N., Hannah F. Ralicki, Sandra A. Emme, Emily Moriarty Lemmon. Species tree estimation of North American chorus frogs (Hylidae: Pseudacris) with parallel tagged amplicon sequencing. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 75():78-90
Account Last Updated:
8/30/2018 9:18:21 AM

Travis W. Taggart © 2020 — Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Fort Hays State University