Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

Acris crepitans is 1.6-3.5 cm long and has a blunt, pointed head with an occasional triangular marking. Its back and legs are covered with various dark markings. It has a middorsal bright green or brown stripe and the rear of its thigh has a distinct ragged dark stripe. A white bar extends from its eye to its foreleg. The body is slim-waisted and small while the skin is granular and warty. Hind toes are extensively webbed and toe pads are poorly developed (Stebbins 2003).

Acris crepitans paludicola and Acris crepitans blanchardi are recognized as subspecies. A. c. paludicola has smooth skin with a pinkish patterned coloration. The throat remains pink, even for males during breeding season. A. c. blanchardi by comparison is wartier, bulkier, and heavier with a light brown or gray uniform coloration (Conant and Collins 1991).

Males have more ventral spotting than females (Stebbins 2003).

Hear Northern Cricket Frog calls at the Western Sound Archive.

  • Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Hammerson, G. A. (1999). Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado. University Press of Colorado, Niwot.
  • Hulse, A. C., McCoy, C. J., and Censky, E. J. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
  • Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from southeastern New York and Pennsylvania southward through New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware eastern West Virginia, eastern Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, western Florida, and part of eastern Louisiana; distribution is east of the Mississippi River and south of the Ohio River (Gamble et al. 2008).

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Range Description

This species is known from southeastern New York, the southern Great Lakes region, and southern South Dakota to southeastern New Mexico, southern Texas, USA, and adjacent Mexico, and the Gulf Coast east to northwestern Florida. Isolated populations occur on the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. In Canada, it is restricted to Point Pelee (formerly) and Pelee Island in extreme southwestern Ontario (Oldham and Campbell, 1990 COSEWIC report).
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Geographic Range

Eastern and middle United States, Michigan to Northeastern Mexico, entering the short grass plains of eastern Colorado and northern Mexico along rivers (Stebbins 1966).

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Distribution and Habitat

Unlike most small frogs in its range, A. c. crepitans does not leave the vicinity of water as an adult. It is found at the edge of ponds and slow-moving streams, tending to avoid wooded areas and dense vegetation (Hulse McCoy and Censky 2001).

A. c. blanchardi is found in Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and most of Texas. A few have been spotted in Minnesota and New Mexico as well. A. c. paludicola is found in marshes ranging from southwestern Louisiana to southeastern Texas (Conant and Collins 1991).

  • Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Hammerson, G. A. (1999). Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado. University Press of Colorado, Niwot.
  • Hulse, A. C., McCoy, C. J., and Censky, E. J. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
  • Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
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Geographic Range

Eastern and middle United States, Michigan to Northeastern Mexico, entering the short grass plains of eastern Colorado and northern Mexico along rivers (Stebbins 1966).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Acris crepitans is a small (0.75 to 1.5 inches), slim-waisted frog with slender webbed toes and a triangle mark on the head. Dorsal coloration can be gray, light brown with dark bands on legs. There is a white bar from eye to base of foreleg. The skin is bumpy. Males have a single vocal pouch. Acris crepitans is a non-climbing member of tree frog family (Barket 1964, Stebbins 1966).

It may be confused with the Striped Chorus Frog which has a whitish stripe along upper lip and length-wise brownish stripe on sides and back, toes slightly webbed. Northern Spring Peeper has smooth skin and x-shaped marking on back (Harding 1997).

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Physical Description

A. crepitans is a small (0.75 to 1.5 inches), slim-waisted frog with slender webbed toes and a triangle mark on the head. Dorsal coloration can be gray, light brown with dark bands on legs. There is a white bar from eye to base of foreleg. The skin is bumpy. Males have a single vocal pouch. A. crepitans is a non-climbing member of tree frog family (Barket 1964, Stebbins 1966).

It may be confused with the Striped Chorus Frog which has a whitish stripe along upper lip and length-wise brownish stripe on sides and back, toes slightly webbed. Northern Spring Peeper has smooth skin and x-shaped marking on back (Harding 1997).

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Size

Length: 4 cm

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Ecology

Habitat

Chihuahuan Desert Habitat

This taxon is found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which is one of the most biologically diverse arid regions on Earth. This ecoregion extends from within the United States south into Mexico. This desert is sheltered from the influence of other arid regions such as the Sonoran Desert by the large mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres. This isolation has allowed the evolution of many endemic species; most notable is the high number of endemic plants; in fact, there are a total of 653 vertebrate taxa recorded in the Chihuahuan Desert.  Moreover, this ecoregion also sustains some of the last extant populations of Mexican Prairie Dog, wild American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope.

The dominant plant species throughout the Chihuahuan Desert is Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata). Depending on diverse factors such as type of soil, altitude, and degree of slope, L. tridentata can occur in association with other species. More generally, an association between L. tridentata, American Tarbush (Flourensia cernua) and Viscid Acacia (Acacia neovernicosa) dominates the northernmost portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. The meridional portion is abundant in Yucca and Opuntia, and the southernmost portion is inhabited by Mexican Fire-barrel Cactus (Ferocactus pilosus) and Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus polyacanthus). Herbaceous elements such as Gypsum Grama (Chondrosum ramosa), Blue Grama (Bouteloua gracilis) and Hairy Grama (Chondrosum hirsuta), among others, become dominant near the Sierra Madre Occidental. In western Coahuila State, Lecheguilla Agave (Agave lechuguilla), Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), Purple Prickly-pear (Opuntia macrocentra) and Rainbow Cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus) are the dominant vascular plants.

Because of its recent origin, few warm-blooded vertebrates are restricted to the Chihuahuan Desert scrub. However, the Chihuahuan Desert supports a large number of wide-ranging mammals, such as the Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana), Robust Cottontail (Sylvilagus robustus EN); Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Grey Fox (Unocyon cineroargentinus), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Collared Peccary or Javelina (Pecari tajacu), Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus auduboni), Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys sp.), pocket mice (Perognathus spp.), Woodrats (Neotoma spp.) and Deer Mice (Peromyscus spp). With only 24 individuals recorded in the state of Chihuahua Antilocapra americana is one of the most highly endangered taxa that inhabits this desert. The ecoregion also contains a small wild population of the highly endangered American Bison (Bison bison) and scattered populations of the highly endangered Mexican Prairie Dog (Cynomys mexicanus), as well as the Black-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).

The Chihuahuan Desert herpetofauna typifies this ecoregion.Several lizard species are centered in the Chihuahuan Desert, and include the Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum); Texas Banded Gecko (Coleonyx brevis), often found under rocks in limestone foothills; Reticulate Gecko (C. reticulatus); Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus); several species of spiny lizards (Scelopoprus spp.); and the Western Marbled Whiptail (Cnemidophorus tigris marmoratus). Two other whiptails, the New Mexico Whiptail (C. neomexicanus) and the Common Checkered Whiptail (C. tesselatus) occur as all-female parthenogenic clone populations in select disturbed habitats.

Representative snakes include the Trans-Pecos Rat Snake (Bogertophis subocularis), Texas Blackhead Snake (Tantilla atriceps), and Sr (Masticophis taeniatus) and Neotropical Whipsnake (M. flagellum lineatus). Endemic turtles include the Bolsón Tortoise (Gopherus flavomarginatus), Coahuilan Box Turtle (Terrapene coahuila) and several species of softshell turtles. Some reptiles and amphibians restricted to the Madrean sky island habitats include the Ridgenose Rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi), Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (C. pricei), Northern Cat-eyed Snake (Leptodeira septentrionalis), Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), and Canyon Spotted Whiptail (Cnemidophorus burti).

There are thirty anuran species occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert: Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Rana chircahuaensis); Red Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus); American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus); Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor); Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans); Rio Grande Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides); Cliff Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus marnockii); Spotted Chirping Frog (Eleutherodactylus guttilatus); Tarahumara Barking Frog (Craugastor tarahumaraensis); Mexican Treefrog (Smilisca baudinii); Madrean Treefrog (Hyla eximia); Montezuma Leopard Frog (Lithobates montezumae); Brown's Leopard Frog (Lithobates brownorum); Yavapai Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis); Western Barking Frog (Craugastor augusti); Mexican Cascade Frog (Lithobates pustulosus); Lowland Burrowing Frog (Smilisca fodiens); New Mexico Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata); Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons); Pine Toad (Incilius occidentalis); Woodhouse's Toad (Anaxyrus woodhousii); Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii); Plateau Toad (Anaxyrus compactilis); Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus); Dwarf Toad (Incilius canaliferus); Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne olivacea); Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus); Eastern Green Toad (Anaxyrus debilis); Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps); and Longfoot Chirping Toad (Eleutherodactylus longipes VU). The sole salamander occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert is the Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum).

Common bird species include the Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia), Merlin (Falco columbarius), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and the rare Zone-tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus). Geococcyx californianus), Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostra), Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), Scott’s Oriole (Icterus parisorum), Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata), Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens), Worthen’s Sparrow (Spizella wortheni), and Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). In addition, numerous raptors inhabit the Chihuahuan Desert and include the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) and the Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi).

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Comments: This species inhabits the edges of sunny marshes, marshy ponds, and small slow-moving streams in open country. It may periodically range into adjacent nonwetland habitats in some regions. Eggs and larvae develop in the shallow water of ponds, marshes, ditches, slow streams, springs, or rain pools. Hibernation sites are underground on land near water; may hibernate communally (e.g., McCallum and Trauth 2003).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits the edges of sunny marshes, marshy ponds, and small slow-moving streams in open country and in forest along bodies of water without dense canopy cover. It may periodically range into adjacent non-wetland habitats in some regions. Eggs and larvae develop in the shallow water of ponds, marshes, ditches, slow streams, springs, or rain pools.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Acris crepitans lives on the edges of ponds and streams with submerged or emergent vegetation (Stebbins 1966).

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams

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A. crepitans lives on the edges of ponds and streams with submerged or emergent vegetation (Stebbins 1966).

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Metamorphosed frogs eat various small invertebrates obtained near or in water. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.

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Food Habits

Main diet is insects, including mosquitos.

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Food Habits

Main diet is insects, including mosquitos.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: This species is represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range.

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Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely is at least several 100,000s. This frog is common in many areas.

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Comments: Inactive during coldest months in north and at higher elevations, active throughout the year in areas with mild winter weather. Diurnal during cool weather, active day and night in warmer months.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
4.9 (high) years.

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Lifespan/Longevity

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
4.9 (high) years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 4.9 years (captivity) Observations: In the wild, these animals are short-lived. Even so, their maximum longevity may be underestimated as it is based on only a few captive animals.
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Reproduction

Lays clutch of up to a few hundred eggs in spring or summer, breeding earlier in south than in north. Aquatic larvae metamorphose in summer. Sexually mature in first year.

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Acris crepitans reaches sexual maturity at one year. Winter to summer, active all year except midwinter in the north. Female responds to male calls April through May and beginning of August. Call sounds like a metallic "gick, gick," resembles steely marbles, lasting approximately one second long. Eggs are less in number than other frogs. One at a time are laid and attached to plants in a pond or pool, while the male releases his sperm. Eggs hatch in a few days. Tadpoles have a black tipped tail unlike any other tadpole. Metamorphosis occurs between July and August (Conant & Collins 1991, Harding 1997).

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A. crepitans reaches sexual maturity at one year. Winter to summer, active all year except midwinter in the north. Female responds to male calls April through May and beginning of August. Call sounds like a metallic "gick, gick," resembles steely marbles, lasting approximately one second long. Eggs are less in number than other frogs. One at a time are laid and attached to plants in a pond or pool, while the male releases his sperm. Eggs hatch in a few days. Tadpoles have a black tipped tail unlike any other tadpole. Metamorphosis occurs between July and August (Conant & Collins 1991, Harding 1997).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acris crepitans

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widespread and common in much of eastern North America.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Geoffrey Hammerson, Georgina Santos-Barrera, Don Church

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson, Neil Cox and Bruce Young)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
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This species was common until the early 1970's. It is uncertain why the decline happened so quickly. Suspected reasons are drought, increased use of pesticides, fertilization, highway salts and other pollutants. Low populations and short life span limit recovery. Acris crepitans blanchardii disappeared in some sites, but remains common in southern and western regions. This subspecies is listed as special concern in the state of Michigan. It is important to monitor existing populations and to identify and preserve known habitats. MI has a volunteer frog survey program, through the MDNR wildlife division, Lansing. Residents in other states can contact their local DNR.(NPWRC 1999, Harding 1997).

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: special concern

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This species was common until the early 1970's. It is uncertain why the decline happened so quickly. Suspected reasons are drought, increased use of pesticides, fertilization, highway salts and other pollutants. Low populations and short life span limit recovery. Acris crepitans blanchardii disappeared in some sites, but remains common in southern and western regions. This subspecies is listed as special concern in the state of Michigan. It is important to monitor existing populations and to identify and preserve known habitats. MI has a volunteer frog survey program, through the MDNR wildlife division, Lansing. Residents in other states can contact their local DNR.(NPWRC 1999, Harding 1997).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: special concern

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: This frog appears to be relatively stable and common in most of its range.

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, probably less than 25% decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences.

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Population

Population
This species is common throughout most of its extensive range, although there have been some declines in the northwestern part of its range. Also, in the eastern portion of its range, populations are disappearing from agricultural and grazed areas in the Shendoah Valley of Virginia.

Population Trend
Stable
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Vocal calls are like the rapid clicking of pebbles, making a "metallic gick gick gick" sound. Rate of vocals is about 1 to 3 calls every second. Breeding period usually lasts from April to July (Conant and Collins 1991). Males can be seen calling from floating vegetation mats or from the banks of ponds. Females seem to prefer males that call at a low pitch.

It is active during both day and night in warm weather but only active during the day in spring and autumn. Acris crepitans is an extraordinary leaper and can leap up to 38 times their standard body length (Hammerson 1999).

It is carnivorous, eating various invertebrates and arthropods such as beetles, flies, spiders, ants, and true bugs (Hulse McCoy and Censky 2001).

  • Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Hammerson, G. A. (1999). Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado. University Press of Colorado, Niwot.
  • Hulse, A. C., McCoy, C. J., and Censky, E. J. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
  • Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
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Threats

Degree of Threat: Medium

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Major Threats
It appears to be significantly threatened only in the northwestern portion of its range. The reasons for the declines remain speculative but vegetation succession, climatic fluctuations, predation by native and exotic species, competition from other frog species, and water pollution caused by pesticides and/or other chemicals associated with agriculture are possibly significant (Harding 1997, Lannoo 1998, Hammerson 1999, Hammerson and Livo 1999).
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Acris crepitans has declined in the north and northwestern part of its range for various reasons revolving around habitat change (Stebbins 2003).

  • Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Hammerson, G. A. (1999). Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado. University Press of Colorado, Niwot.
  • Hulse, A. C., McCoy, C. J., and Censky, E. J. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
  • Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
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Management

Global Protection: Several to many (4-40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: The range of this species overlaps with at least several protected areas.

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Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The range of this species overlaps with several protected areas.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Important to humans for research and management. Used as an indicator species of water quality. Also used to measure pond and stream ecological standards (NPWRC 1999).

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Important to humans for research and management. Used as an indicator species of water quality. Also used to measure pond and stream ecological standards (NPWRC 1999).

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Risks

Relation to Humans

A. c. blanchardi or Blanchard's Cricket Frog is named after the herpetologist at the University of Michigan, Frank Nelson Blanchard (Conant and Collins 1991).

  • Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Hammerson, G. A. (1999). Amphibians and Reptiles in Colorado. University Press of Colorado, Niwot.
  • Hulse, A. C., McCoy, C. J., and Censky, E. J. (2001). Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
  • Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
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Wikipedia

Northern cricket frog

The northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) is a species of small hylid frog native to the United States and northeastern Mexico. Despite being members of the tree frog family, they are not arboreal. It has three recognized subspecies.

Description[edit]

The northern cricket frog is one of North America's two smallest vertebrates, ranging from 19–38 mm (0.75–1.50 in) long. Its dorsal coloration varies widely, and includes greys, greens, and browns, often in irregular blotching patterns. One New York biologist has identified six distinct color morphs and four pattern morphs, and several intrergrades between these.[2] Typically there is dark banding on the legs and a white bar from the eye to the base of the foreleg. The skin has a bumpy texture. It is very similar to the southern cricket frog, Acris gryllus, found in the US Southeastern Coastal Plain, but with some overlap along the fall line. The southern cricket frog has longer legs, with less webbing on the hind feet, and a more pointed snout; northern cricket frogs have been observed with snouts indistinguishable from those of the southern species.[3] The line on the back of its[clarification needed] thigh is typically more sharply defined than that of the northern cricket frog.[4] Biologists have recorded northern cricket frogs in the northern fringes of their range with extremely sharp posterior leg stripes.

Behavior and diet[edit]

Northern cricket frogs are diurnal and generally active much of the year, except in midwinter in northern areas when the water is frozen. Their primary diet is small (13 to 38 mm (0.5 to 1.5 in) long) insects, including mosquitos. They are, in turn, preyed upon by a number of species, including birds, fish, and other frogs. To escape predators, they are capable of leaping up to 3 feet in a single jump and are excellent swimmers.

Reproduction[edit]

Breeding generally occurs from May through July. The males call from emergent vegetation with a high-pitched, short, pebble-like call which is repeated at an increasing rate. The sound suggests pebbles being clicked together, much like a cricket, hence the name. One egg is laid at a time, generally attached to a piece of vegetation. The 14 millimetres (0.55 in) tadpoles hatch in only a few days, and undergo metamorphosis in early fall. Maturity is usually reached in less than a year.

Habitat[edit]

Cricket frogs prefer the edges of slow-moving, permanent bodies of water. Large groups of them can often be found together along the muddy banks of shallow streams, especially during premigratory clustering. The northern cricket frog has been observed to hibernate upland, often at considerable distances from water.

Subspecies[edit]

Acris crepitans blanchardi
  • Blanchard's cricket frog, A. c. blanchardi (Harper, 1947)
  • Eastern cricket frog, A. c. crepitans (Baird, 1854)
  • Coastal cricket frog, A. c. paludicola (Burger, Smith and Smith, 1949)

Geographic distribution[edit]

  • A. c. crepitans is found from New York, south to Florida, and west along the Gulf Coast states to Texas.
  • A. c. paludicola occurs in southwestern Louisiana to East Texas.
  • A. c. blanchardii is found from Michigan and Ohio, south through to most of Texas, and Mexico. It has been recorded in Minnesota and Colorado.

Conservation status[edit]

Frogs such as A. crepitans are important as an indicator of wetland health and general environmental quality in the areas they inhabit. Blanchard's cricket frogs, A. c. blanchardi, were once abundant in southern Michigan, but during the late 1970s and early 1980s, many populations in Michigan and the Great Lakes basin have disappeared. Thus, A. c. blanchardi is listed as a species of concern in the state of Michigan.[5] Acris crepitans is also listed as an endangered species in New York. The largest remaining population of northern cricket frogs in New York survives at Orange County's Glenmere Lake/Black Meadow habitat. Many biologists think these frogs might be affected by diseases, but the bimonthly treatment of Glenmere's water (unique to this singular cricket frog habitat) with the fungicide copper sulfate may be helping this population avoid infection deaths. Cricket frogs are also an endangered species in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hammerson, G., Santos-Barrera, G. & Church, D. (2004). Acris crepitans. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  2. ^ (Westerveld,1977).
  3. ^ (Westerveld, 1998).
  4. ^ (Conant et al. 1998, Martof et al. 1980).
  5. ^ Michigan DNR - Blanchard's Cricket Frog
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Based on patterns of morphological variation, "Acris crepitans blanchardi" does not appear to be a valid taxon (McCallum and Trauth 2006). According to Crother (2008), "Two nominal subspecies have not been formally rejected though they are infrequently recognized. Whether these represent arbitrary or historical units is unknown and this requires further investigation." In contrast, a phylogeographic analysis by Gamble et al. (2008), based on mtDNA and nDNA, found that "existing A. crepitans subspecies, defined by morphology and call types, do not match the distributions of evolutionary lineages recovered using...genetic data." Gamble et al. revised the distributions of blanchardi and crepitans in the south-central part of their combined ranges and recognized A. blanchardi and A. crepitans as distinct species. This change was adopted by Frost (Amphibian Species of the World website) and Collins and Taggart (2009).

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