ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Cricket Frogs of Louisiana

Updated on December 8, 2014
naturegirl7s profile image

Yvonne writes about and photographs the flora and fauna of Louisiana, sharing knowledge she learned through study and personal experience.

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.

Range Map

*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

Acris crepitans

Description

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

This little one is still chomping down on an insect. Notice the leg hanging out of his mouth.
This little one is still chomping down on an insect. Notice the leg hanging out of his mouth. | Source

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

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.

Diet

Northern cricket frogs eat anthopods, especially insects and spiders. They also dine on some snails, worms, crustaceans and other invertebrates.

Pale Cricket Frog

This light colored cricket frog shows the variety of color and patterns which can occur.
This light colored cricket frog shows the variety of color and patterns which can occur. | Source

The Calls of Frogs and Toads

The Calls of Frogs and Toads
The Calls of Frogs and Toads

I own this book/cd and it was very helpful in learning to identify the calls of frogs and toads.

 

Northern Reproduction

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

Aeris gryllus

Description

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

From Tadpole to Frog (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)
From Tadpole to Frog (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 1)

You may find clumps of frog eggs in a water feature or low area. This book will help children learn about the process.

 

Southern Diet, Predators and Conservation

Diet

Southern cricket frogs eas small invertebrates such as springtails, spiders, flies, beetles and other small flying insects.

Predators

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.

Conservation

Disturbance and degradation of land around wetlands where Southern Cricket frog live can have a major impact on local populations.

Colorful Cricket Frog

Some look like little harlequins.
Some look like little harlequins.

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.

Don't hop off before you ribbit.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ss834 lm profile image

      ss834 lm 8 years ago

      This little frog is one of the first frogs I learned by the call (in the Manchac Swamp). Great lens!

    • ctavias0ffering1 profile image

      ctavias0ffering1 8 years ago

      Another wonderful lens from a great lensmaker 5* and a sprinkling of Angel Dust

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Sometimes we can't hear ourselves talk on our porch because of the tree frogs. They can really get loud. Great lens and very informative. Thank you.

    • ElizaRayner profile image

      Eliza Rayner 7 years ago from Boulder, Colorado

      great lens! I too am a fan of amphibians and all wildlife actually. thanks for putting this information out there so more people can appreciate the little guys.

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 7 years ago

      Nicely done, great lens! Thank you... 5*. Check out my Cute Frogs Lens

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 7 years ago from Royalton

      Thank you so much for mentioning me on your CrabbysBeach Blog and what a delightful blog it is.

      Just wanted to let you know that your blog and this lens are now featured on All About Frogs. Please add any other frog lenses to the plexo there.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 6 years ago from Royalton

      Just hopped over to Bless this Frog Lens!

    • profile image

      cricandcric1557 5 years ago

      Thanks for providing such useful information. I really appreciate your professional approach.

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 5 years ago

      Frogs are such adorable creatures... and cricket frogs are no different. Great lens, and thanks for so much info on these amazing animals.

      ~BLESSED~

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      I love frogs! I shared your lens on our Facebook page today - come and check it out!

      www.facebook.com/GreenThumbOnSquidoo

    Click to Rate This Article