The Pacific Treefrog (a.k.a. Pacific Chorus Frog) is one of two species of tree frogs found in British Columbia. It is a distinctive, small species of frog, to 5 cm in length, with a black mask that extends across the eye to the shoulder, and relatively long legs.. Body colour is most commonly green, but maybe be brown/bronze in colour, with pale cream below. Dark patches or stripes are often present on the back. Males have a dark patch of skin on their throat. Toes have round pads (disks) used for climbing and very little webbing. The Boreal Chorus Frog, the second species of tree frog in the province, can be separated from the Pacific Tree Frog by range (it is only found in a small area in northeastern BC), smaller toe pads, the presence of an eyestripe which continues across the body, and three stripes on the back. The Wood Frog is also a similar looking species, also with a black mask on its face, but it lacks the round pads on the toes and has ridges that run from the eye down the back (dorsolateral ridges). The BC Frogwatch Program (2010) says: “The Pacific Treefrog can change colour rapidly from light to dark, possibly in response to changes in temperature and humidity “. Shaub and Larsen (1978) report a shift in the dominant colour of males from one year to the next (non-green to green).
The species has a repertoire of calls, and can be heard calling year-round (not just breeding season). Their calls are often used as Hollywood movie background frog calls.
Females lay small clusters of eggs attached to vegetation or leaf litter in shallow water. The eggs masses are the size of gold balls once they swell with water. The eggs hach in two to three weeks, and metamorphosis generally occurs in about two months (sometimes longer). Newly emerged frogs may be as small as 1 cm (BC Frogwatch Program 2010).
Adult Pacific Treefrogs eat insects and spiders, while tadpoles eat algae and organic destritus.
Throughout its range, the Pacific Treefrog can be found in a variety of thermally diverse ecosystems, from deserts to grasslands to rain forests (Shaub and Larsen 1978, Claussen 1973). It is reported from elevations ranging from sea level to more than 11,000 ft. (Brattstrom and Warren 1955). During the breeding season in BC, the Pacific Tree Frog is usually found in shallow, often temporary, wetlands, including ponds and woodland pools. It is sometimes found in garden ponds, roadside ditches and little used, flooded forest service roads. In the non-breeding season, it is found in a variety of habitats, sometimes far from water, including forests, fields and pastures. Eggs and larvae are often found sharing temporary water sources with Long-toed Salamander larvae.
In North America, the Pacific Treefrog is found from British Columbia south along the US coast to Baja California, west of the Rocky Mountains (Shaub and Larsen 1978, BC Frogwatch Program 2010). In British Columbia they are found in the southern part of the province, including Vancouver Island, and have been introduced to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) (Matsuda et al. 2006). Matsuda et al. (2006) state: “The son of a long-time Graham Island resident released a jar of tadpoles that he had collected at Como Lake on Vancouver Island.”
This species is common in British Columbia, and is not of conservation concern.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab
for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2020-07-03 5:34:11 PM]
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