Just as the name suggests, the Little Grass Frog (Pseudacris ocularis) is the smallest species of frog in North America, only measuring ½ to ¾ of an inch in body length. In Virginia, they are only found in the southeastern region of the state, which constitutes the northernmost extreme of its range. They prefer to live in moist grassy areas near a pond, bog, pool, or stream, typically within a hardwood forest, pine savanna, or wooded swamp. This species breeds in flooded grassy areas from January – September, peaking in the late spring. One may think of a wet meadow or a shrub wetland as a breeding site, but Little Grass Frogs will even breed in a roadside ditch, logged area, or a flooded pasture. Listen for their tinkling insect-like call, a quick “set-see, set-see.” For visual identification of the Little Grass Frog, look for a dark stripe (variable in length) passing through each of the eyes and extending along its side. Their overall color varies from tan or brown to greenish to reddish.
The Little Grass Frog is a Tier IV Species of Greatest Conservation Need in 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 Little Grass 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.
Call of the Little Grass Frog
This is a part of our Virginia is for Frogs campaign, where we’ll be sharing a frog fact-of-the-week all year long.
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!