Chapter

Risk Factors and Declines in Northern Cricket Frogs (<i>Acris crepitans</i>)

Val R. Beasley, Sandra A. Faeh, Brigit Wikoff, Craig Staehle, Tim Halliday, Joyce Eisold, Donald Nichols, Rebecca Cole, Anna M. Schotthoefer, Martin Greenwell and Lauren E. Brown

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520235922.003.0013
Risk Factors and Declines in Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)

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There have been many proposed causes for amphibian population declines, including habitat destruction, pesticides, fungal infections, drought, and feral pigs. One species that has exhibited a marked decline in the midwestern United States is the northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans). Cricket frogs have a thin, well-vascularized skin that may render them more vulnerable to environmental contaminants than animals with a thicker, less vascularized integument. Therefore, they may potentially serve as indicators of recent environmental pollution. Moreover, the small effective breeding population size of cricket frogs in the northern part of their range may predispose them to local elimination due to anthropogenic or natural environmental catastrophes. This chapter discusses the results of a study undertaken to identify risk factors that may be involved in the decline of northern cricket frogs in Illinois. It presents a case series of ponds investigated in 1994 and 1995 and describes relationships among habitat characteristics, contaminants in water and sediment samples, lesions (including those associated with parasites), and relative reproductive success of cricket frogs.

Keywords: Acris crepitans; northern cricket frogs; population declines; Illinois; ponds; habitat; contaminants; lesions; reproductive success; parasites

Chapter.  7888 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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