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).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: United States
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
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).
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).
Trends and Threats
Acris crepitans has declined in the north and northwestern part of its range for various reasons revolving around habitat change (Stebbins 2003).
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).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Local pesticides, fertilizers, and pollutants
Predators (natural or introduced)
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.
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.
Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
Stebbins, R. C. (1985). A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Written by Michelle Iwaki (miwaki AT berkeley.edu), AmphibiaWeb URAP
First submitted 2004-03-23
Edited by Tate Tunstall, Michelle S. Koo (2012-04-29)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2012 Acris crepitans: Northern Cricket Frog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/670> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 23, 2016.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2016. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 23 Oct 2016.
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