Cricket Frogs of Louisiana
Amphibian: Northern and Southern Cricket Frogs
Louisiana hosts two species of Cricket frogs, the Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) and the Southern cricket frog (Acris gryllus). This colorful little pipsqueak amphibian has some amazing qualities. It can leap great distances (for its size) and it has an extremely loud voice that sounds like 2 marbles being knocked together. It is another of the Amazing Amphibians of Louisiana.
Cricket Frogs are very small frogs with remarkably loud calls.
2 Species in St. Tammany Parish
In Louisiana, both the Northern and the Southern cricket frog occur. The Northern Cricket Frog, Acris crepitans, occurs over the entire state and is the only cricket frog west of the Mississippi River. The Southern Cricket Frog, Acris gryllus, occurs only in southeast Louisiana in the Florida Parishes*. One of the two subspecies of the Southern cricket frog is found in Louisiana, the Coastal Plain cricket frog, Acris gryllus gryllus. Coastal Plain cricket frog has a single dark line behind the thigh.
We live in the Florida Parishes, where both species occur. We find that it is extremely hard to tell the two apart, so I did not try to identify the photos as to whether they were the Northern or the Southern Cricket Frog and have interspersed them throughout the lens. If anyone has the expertise to identify the photos, we would appreciate any input.
*Florida Parishes are the parishes located north of Lake Pontchartrain from the Mississippi River (on the west) to the Louisiana / Mississippi State line on the east.
Northern Cricket Frog
A small, ground dwelling treefrog about 1 3/8 inches long with warty skin, 2 light colored anal warts, long slim toes and webbed feet with the webs reaching at least to 1 1/2 to 2 joints of the longest toe. The body has elongated dark spots on a gray to green or rust background. There is a dark triangle between the eyes.
Where we live in St. Tammany Parish, both the Northern and Southern species occur. The differences between the two are:
1. The middle toe of the hind foot of the Southern appears to be much longer than that of the Northern because the webbing only reaches to the base of the last 3 joints. The webbing on the norther reaches to 1 1/2 to 2 of the last joints.
2. Southern has a smooth edged post-femoral stripe on the thigh. The Northern's is more rough edged.
3. Southern (A. gryllus) has a more pointed snout and the males' voices are more nasal sounding.
4. Tadpoles of A. gryllus have a long spiracular tube which no other Louisiana tadpole has.
Cricket Frog Poster
Quite a few of the photos seen here can be purchased in Naturegirl7's Zazzle Shop as print-on-demand products such as posters, cards, apparel, mugs, etc.
Frogs and Toads of the Southeast
Frogs and Toads of the Southeast
This is one of the best books about southern frogs and toads. It has wonderful pictures and up-to-date information.
Northern Habits and Habitat
These ground dwelling treefrogs are found near freshwater lakes and along streams. They rarely stray far from the water except during rains. When disturbed, they leap long distances (as much as 3 feet) into water to hide in the plants or at the bottom. They are active year round during mild weather.
In the Florida parishes, where both the Northern and Southern cricket frogs live, it has been observed that the males of each species select different spots from which to sing. A. crepitans (northen) males like shaded spots and A. gryllus (southern) prefer more open places along the pond perimeter. Also A. crepitans predominated the pond, where A. gryllus was more abundant in meadow pools and drainage ditches.
Northern cricket frogs eat anthopods, especially insects and spiders. They also dine on some snails, worms, crustaceans and other invertebrates.
Pale Cricket Frog
The Calls of Frogs and Toads
The major breeding period of A. crepitans (northern) is from March through September, but males will sing all through the year. This Louisiana frog sings during daylight hours more than any other, however most choruses occur at night.
The singing sounds like someone knocking two pebbles or marbles together in a repeated "gick" sounding song. The total song consists of 20-30 rapid "gick-gick-gick, gick gick" beats. For a tiny frog the volume of their voice is amazing loud.
A single female may lay as many as 250 eggs. Each egg measures 2.3-3.5 mm. They are laid singly or in small masses and usually sink to the bottom of the fresh water ponds or pools.
The development period is from 40-90 days, with the transformation from tadpole to new frog occurring in the warm months. The tadpoles have a black tipped tail and measure 30-46 mm long. Young frogs grow fast and attain adult size in 2 months after metamorphosis.
Tiny Baby Cricket Frog
It's mid June here in south Louisiana and we have seen our first baby Cricket Frog. It is so tiny (less than 1/2 inch) that we almost missed it as it hopped among the carrots in the garden. The photo above is an extreme close up. The brown stems that look like logs are actually dead radishes that went to seed and became part of the mulch in the path.
Northern Cricket Frog Vid
Southern Cricket Frog
Southern cricket frog is a small frog (no more than 1 1/4 inches). It is very similar in appearance to the Northern Cricket frog. (See comparrisson of northern and southern above). The Coastal Plain cricket frog, Acris gryllus gryllus is a subspecies that occurs in Louisiana. Coastal Plain cricket frog has a single dark line behind the thigh.
In Louisiana it is only found in the Florida Parishes in the southeastern part of the state where we live. (see map above)
Habits and Habitat
Southern Cricket Frogs (A. gryllus) are abundant in roadside ditches, woodland and meadow pools and artesian fed ponds.
The voice is like A. crepitans, but has a more nasal quality.
From Tadpole to Frog
Southern Diet, Predators and Conservation
Southern cricket frogs eas small invertebrates such as springtails, spiders, flies, beetles and other small flying insects.
Predators include several kinds of snakes (watersnakes, Garter snakes and Pinewoods snakes) and fish such as, redfin pickerel, bluegill and large mouth bass. Also other frogs, toads and birds will eat Southern Cricket frogs.
Disturbance and degradation of land around wetlands where Southern Cricket frog live can have a major impact on local populations.
Colorful Cricket Frog
Colorful Cricket Frog Mug
Cricket Frog Designs on Zazzle
For More Frog Designs Visit our Naturally Native Creations Gallery
Save the Frogs Save the Planet Bumper Sticker
© 2009 Yvonne L B