The upland chorus frog is a small gray or tan frog with dark dorsal stripes that are narrow or broken into a series of dashes or spots. Some frogs may lack such markings. A gray, irregular stripe extends from the snout through the eye and down each side to the groin. A dark spot on the head between the eyes may be triangular. Breeding males have dark throats. Breeding call is similar to that of the closely related boreal chorus frog, a raspy, extended “prreeep” with an inflection at the end, but the upland chorus frog’s call is longer and lower.
Hylidae (treefrogs and allies) in the order Anura (frogs)
Length: ¾ to 1½ inches.
Where To Find
Mississippi Lowlands of southeastern Missouri.
This frog is similar in many ways to its close relative, the boreal chorus frog. It lives in small patches of woods, swamps, and river bottomland forests. It takes shelter under leaf litter, under small logs or tree bark laying on the ground, or in small animal burrows during the day. This frog is seldom seen outside of breeding season.
This species hunts for a variety of small insects and spiders, especially during damp nights.
Common. Apparently it hybridizes with the boreal chorus frog where their ranges overlap.
These frogs become active in February and breed in late winter or early spring. They may be the first frogs to chorus in southeastern Missouri. Breeding occurs in temporary pools, low spots in crop fields, and in ditches. Males often sing in the water with their head and forelegs above the water, grasping a blade of grass or plant stem. Females lay 500–1,000 or more eggs, which hatch within a week. Transformation from tadpoles to froglets takes 6–8 weeks.
These frogs help control populations of sometimes-troublesome insects; also, because they are sensitive to pollutants, they are an indicator species, whose health and population numbers help us to gauge the health of their ecosystem.
These small frogs prey on numerous insects and spiders, helping to control their populations, but they also fall prey to many larger predators at each stage of their life cycle. There is even a documented instance of a fishing spider turning the tables by eating an upland chorus frog.
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About Reptiles and Amphibians in Missouri
Missouri’s herptiles comprise 43 amphibians and 75 reptiles. Amphibians, including salamanders, toads, and frogs, are vertebrate animals that spend at least part of their life cycle in water. They usually have moist skin, lack scales or claws, and are ectothermal (cold-blooded), so they do not produce their own body heat the way birds and mammals do. Reptiles, including turtles, lizards, and snakes, are also vertebrates, and most are ectothermal, but unlike amphibians, reptiles have dry skin with scales, the ones with legs have claws, and they do not have to live part of their lives in water.