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New Jersey Endangered and Threatened Species Field Guide


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Northern cricket frog

Acris crepitas

Species Group: Amphibian

Conservation Status

State: Special Concern

 


IDENTIFICATION

About 5/8” – 1 1/2” in size, this species’ is highly variable in color and pattern. There is a dark triangle-shaped blotch between its eyes and a dark ragged stripe along the back of the thigh. It has warty skin and webbing on the hind feet extends to the tips of the toes.

Its voice is cricket-like; rhythmic, repetitive clicking – gick, gick, gick, gick, etc. It begins slowly but then picks up speed.

Image of Range of the northern cricket frog in New Jersey.Zoom+ Range of the northern cricket frog in New Jersey.

DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT

This species can be found as far north as the southeastern New York state. Its range then extends southwest through New Jersey and along the Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont region, then extending southwesterly to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas. Present along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey to southern Virginia, it is absent from the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia. Within Florida, it is present only within the western half of the panhandle.

This species can be found throughout the entire state of New Jersey, with the exception of the core Pinelands.

Habitat for this species includes marshes, ponds, and small slow-moving streams.

DIET

Larvae will feed within the water on suspended organic debris, algae, and plant tissue. Adult frogs feed on small invertebrates found near or in the water.

LIFE CYCLE

This species lays a clutch of up to a few hundred eggs in spring or summer within shallow water in ponds, marshes, ditches, slow streams, or vernal pools where the larvae develop. The aquatic larvae metamorphose in summer. They are sexually mature in one year.

During warmer months, this species is active both during the day and night. However, during cooler weather, they may be active only during the daytime. They hibernate underground during winter, near water and occasionally in groups. During mild winters, they may remain active.

CURRENT STATUS, THREATS, AND CONSERVATION

Although this species can be found throughout New Jersey, their population has been declining and needs to be monitored. The greatest threat to this species is loss or destruction of habitat. In 2016, due to population declines and habitat loss, the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Advisory Committee recommended a Special Concern status for this species within the state, but no formal rule proposal has been filed to date.

HOW TO HELP

The Endangered and Nongame Species Program would like for individuals to report their sightings of northern cricket frogs. Record the date, time, location, and condition of the animal and submit the information by submitting a Sighting Report Form. The information will be entered into the state’s natural heritage program, commonly referred to as Biotics. Biologists map the sighting and the resulting maps “allow state, county, municipal, and private agencies to identify important wildlife habitats and protect them in a variety of ways. This information is used to regulate land-use within the state and assists in preserving endangered and threatened species habitat remaining in New Jersey.”


Text written by Michael J. Davenport in 2016.


REFERENCES

  • NatureServe. 2015. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed: January 4, 2016).
  • Schwartz, Vicki and D.M. Golden. 2002. Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of New Jersey. New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
       Class: Amphibia
          Order: Anura
             Family: Hylidae
                Genus: Acris
                   Species: A. crepitas

Find Related Info: Amphibians, Special concern

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