Natural Sightings frog

A Pacific Chorus Frog warms itself perched on dried cattail leaves in the Tehachapi Valley.

Todd Rundquist took this photo of a Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) as it warmed itself perched on dried cattail leaves in the Tehachapi Valley.

This common frog species is sometimes called the Pacific Tree Frog, but this is a misleading name because unlike true tree frogs, the Pacific Chorus Frog is almost never found in trees.

The name Chorus Frog is particularly apt, however, because following rains that produce small ponds and puddles, male frogs take to bodies of water large and small (or small and even smaller) to sing and try to attract females. I've even seen them occupy an water dish placed outside for dogs — and sometimes even succeed in getting a female to join them, as evidenced by a string of gelatinous eggs found in the water dish the following morning.

The glorious if somewhat cacophonous frog choir begins whenever there is surface moisture and somewhat warmer temperatures. While this is often thought of a spring ritual, I have heard individual frogs start a hopeful song as early as late January in the Tehachapi Mountains, immediately following a warmer rain. In California's various climate zones, the breeding season lasts from December through May.

Pacific Chorus Frogs are usually found in shades of green, brown or beige like the frog in this photo. While it was once thought that the color of an individual frog was fixed, it has been learned that the frogs can change their color over a period of time. This is apparently in response not to the color of their surrounding environment, but to a change in background brightness.

The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Paiute) word for Pacific Chorus Frog is wogita, an approximation of the sounds they make.

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: editorial@tehachapinews.com.