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Southern Cricket Frog
Photo Credit: Roger Birkhead
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Acris gryllus
DESCRIPTION: A small frog ranging in length from .75 to 1.5 inches. Their overall dorsal coloration varies between gray, brown, green or black often with a yellow, green or red mid dorsal stripe that can “fork” and extend to the eyes. The head has a triangular shaped marking between the eyes. Dorsum has some ridges and their sides have irregular spotting. The snout is more pointed than the Northern cricket frog. The back of the thigh has a solid, defined dark stripe and the hind feet are only slightly webbed.
DISTRIBUTION: Acris gryllus is found from the coastal plains of: southeastern Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi to the Mississippi River and all of Florida. In Alabama, they are found normally below the fall line, occasionally in the Tennessee Valley and Appalachian Plateaus.
HABITAT: Found year round in Alabama. Found in many different permanent aquatic habitats such as bogs, marshes, swamps, ponds and ditches. They will utilize temporary collections of water and prefers densely vegetated areas.
FEEDING HABITS: Feeds on a variety of insects, especially mosquitoes, spiders and arthropods.
LIFE HISTORY AND ECOLOGY: This frog is active year round in warm weather. Breeding occurs in late spring and summer. Males call from floating vegetation or concealed in bank vegetation. The call is said to sound like two marbles clicking against each other. Eggs may be deposited singly or in small masses. Tadpoles mature in 90 to 100 days. Lifespan is approximately 1 year. Although this species is in the treefrog family, Southern cricket frogs are primarily ground dwellers. This frog is known for its jumping ability, a trait that protects them from predators like salamanders, snakes, turtles and birds.
Mount, Robert H. 1975. The Reptiles and Amphibians of Alabama. Auburn Printing Company, Alabama. 347 pp.
AUTHOR: Richard Tharp, Wildlife Biologist, Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, December, 2012