Comprehensive Description

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Acris blanchardi is a small (1.6-3.8 cm), moist-skinned hylid frog. Hind limbs are long relative to the body. The dorsal surface is warty while ventral skin is granular. Dorsal coloration is variable but typically gray or brown. Pattern can be variable but most individuals have a dark triangle, pointed posteriorly, on the head, between the eyes. Many individuals possess a tan, brown, red, or green medial stripe. The upper jaw has a series of vertical, dark bars. Most individuals possess a ragged, dark stripe on the thigh. The subgular vocal sac becomes darker, occasionally tinged with yellow, during the breeding season. Hind toes are extensively webbed with poorly-developed toe pads (Collins 1993; Conant and Collins 1991; Trauth et al. 2004; Vogt 1981).

Tadpoles are elongate with narrow caudal fins. Eyes are positioned laterally. Acris blanchardi tadpoles typically possess a distinctive black tail-tip, which is thought to direct predators, such as dragonfly larvae, away from the body. The black tail tip is not present in all populations and tadpoles developing in streams with fish tend to have light tail tips (Caldwell 1982; Vogt 1981).

Acris blanchardi was formerly considered a subspecies of Acris crepitans. Phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear genes suggest that A. blanchardi is a distinct species (Gamble et al. 2008). The subspecies Acris crepitans paludicola, which occupies a limited area along the Gulf Coast from Houston, Texas to central Louisiana, is phylogenetically allied with A. blanchardi but its distinct behavior and coloration may still warrant separate taxonomic status (Rose et al. 2006).

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