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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Farm ponds as critical habitats for native amphibians
A Field Guide to Amphibian Larvae and Eggs of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa
Field guide contents

Northern Cricket Frog Acris crepitans

Status: Wisconsin – Endangered
Minnesota – Endangered
Iowa – Declining
Northern Cricket Frog
2.7 - 4.4 cm total length

field mapNorthern Cricket Frogs lay eggs singly or in loose clusters of 7–40 eggs near the surface of streams and other bodies of water. Cricket Frogs have distinctive tadpoles when their tail tips are black. No other tadpole will have such an obvious black tail in contrast to the rest of the tail and body. This trait may or may not be present depending on conditions. For example, tadpoles that developed in ponds with predaceous dragonfly larvae had black tails (directs attacks away from the body), whereas those developing in lakes or streams with fish had clear tails (less visible; Caldwell 1982). Tadpoles of this species can also be identified by their eyes, which are located between dorsal and lateral, and the bands of pigment that lie along the dorsal edge of the tail musculature.

Northern Cricket Frogs are the least arboreal of the tree frog family in our area. The adults are found along muddy banks of streams, ponds, and lakes. There is considerable concern over the disappearance of this species in the northern parts of its range (indicated in red). A range contraction has occurred in the last few decades and the cause is under investigation (Lannoo 1998; Hay 1998). There is some evidence that this species is more susceptible to UV radiation than the leopard frogs, toads, and other tree frogs (Van Gorp 2002).

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Page Last Modified: December 29, 2010