Find northern cricket frog information at Animal Diversity Web
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).
Eastern and middle United States, Michigan to Northeastern Mexico, entering the short grass plains of eastern Colorado and northern Mexico along rivers (Stebbins 1966).
A. crepitans lives on the edges of ponds and streams with submerged or emergent vegetation (Stebbins 1966).
lakes and ponds; rivers and streams.
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).
Life span averages four months. With a such a short life span, populations can have a complete turn over in six months.
Activity is diurnal. They can jump more than three feet. This would be like a six foot person jumping 200 feet. They can be found basking on sunny banks of shallow pools in groups.
Predators include fish, snakes, herons, and minks. To escape predators they jump in a series of zig-zag motions (Barket 1964).
Main diet is insects, including mosquitos.
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).
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).
There are three subspecies: A.c.crepitans, northern cricket frog. Range: southeast New York to Florida and eastern Texas; this subspecies is extinct on Long Island.
A. c. paludicola, coastal cricket frog. Range: southwest Louisiana to southeast Texas.
A. c. blanchardii, Blanchard's cricket frog. Range: Michigan and Ohio to northeast and most of Texas, scattered records in Minnesota and Colorado (Harding 1997).
Shannon Chapman, Michigan State University
James Harding, Michigan State University
Barket, W. 1964. Familiar Reptiles and Amphibians of America. Harper and Row.
Conant, R., J. Collins. 1991. Reptiles and Amphibians Eastern/Central Norht America. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Harding, J. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes region. University of Michigan:
NPWRC Government, 1999. Accessed October 1, 1999 at http://www.npwrc.gov/narcam/idguide.crepitan.html.
Stebbins, R. 1966. A Field Guide of Reptiles and Amphibians.. Cambridge: The Riverside Press.