In this week’s edition of Frog Friday, we’ll introduce you to another of Virginia’s chorus frogs: the New Jersey Chorus Frog.
The New Jersey chorus frog (Pseudacris kalmi) is a relatively small frog ranging in size from ¾–1-½ inches. The base color is usually dark brown to light gray with three broad, well-defined, dark stripes on the back; and a broad, dark stripe along its side from the nose to the rear end that passes through the eye. This frog always has a light line along the upper jaw easily differentiating it from the spring peeper which usually has an “X” pattern on its back.
The New Jersey chorus frog is found only on the Eastern Shore in Virginia. It occurs in the Coastal Plain from Staten Island, New York, to the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula. It inhabits hardwood and mixed pine-hardwood forests where there are ponds, ditches, and other small temporary pools that can be used for breeding. Breeding typically occurs in early spring from February to about April with eggs hatching in one to two days and metamorphoses occurring in 75 days. The male’s mating call is a repeated “crreek” or “prreep” that rises in pitch and speeds up near the end and has been compared to the sound of running a finger along the fine teeth of a comb.
The New Jersey chorus frog is a Tier IV Species of Moderate Conservation Need Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan. This ranking means that they may be rare in parts of their range, especially along the outer edge. Species within this tier have either demonstrated a significant declining trend or one is suspected. Long-term planning is necessary to stabilize or increase populations. If you would like to help out the New Jersey chorus frog and other frog species, please visit Virginia is for Frogs for ways to get involved in frog conservation. To learn more about Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan and how to help Species of Greatest Conservation Need, please visit BeWildVirginia.org.
Want even more frog facts and calls? Check out our Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia, available from ShopDGIF.com, a 44-page field guide that covers all 27 species of frogs and toads that inhabit Virginia. Their calls have been captured on a high quality CD that can be easily listened to in the field, classroom, or at home!