North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Cricket Frogs (Northern and Southern)

Scientific Names: Northern-Acris crepitans
                            Southern
-Acris gryllus
Classification: Nongame species
Range: Abundant (blue)


Northern Cricket Frog (Photo: Hannah Royal)

 

 

 

 

 


 


Southern Cricket Frog (Photo: Stephen Friedt)

     

Cricket frogs are small frogs with very long legs, pointed snouts and rough, warty skin. They vary in color, ranging from greenish brown to red. They often have a dark triangle present between the eyes and a Y-shaped stripe on their backs. The northern cricket frog and the southern cricket frog are the two species found in North Carolina. They look very similar; however, northern cricket frogs have more extensive webbing on the toes of their hind feet and a ragged dark stripe on the back of each thigh. The thigh stripes on southern cricket frogs are usually more clean cut. The legs of southern cricket frogs are slightly longer than those of northern cricket frogs. 

Northern cricket frogs are found primarily in the Piedmont while southern cricket frogs are found mostly in the Coastal Plain. Cricket frogs are active by day and night and can be found in vegetation around the edges of ponds and marshes, and along the banks of streams and rivers. Northern cricket frogs breed from April through August and southern cricket frogs breed from February to October. The eggs of both species are laid singly or in small clumps and tadpoles develop into tiny frogs in about six to 13 weeks. 

Cricket frogs are classified as a nongame species with no open season. It is unlawful for any person to take, or have in possession, any nongame mammal or bird unless that person has a collection license or is collecting fewer than 5 reptiles or fewer than 25 amphibians that are not endangered, threatened, or special concerned species.

There are no reported problems with this species. 

Frogs and toads can be monitored fairly easily in a variety of ways. One way is through frog call monitoring. The North Carolina Calling Amphibian Survey Program attempts to do just that by corralling data collected by volunteers across the state that monitors specific frog call routes. Each species of frog and toad has a unique call that is distinguishable from others.  Some are more difficult for humans to separate than others, but the frogs know who’s who!  Learn your frog calls, and you too can distinguish who’s calling in the ponds.  Another way to monitor frogs and toads is by looking for egg masses deposited in wetlands and/or by looking for tadpoles in those same wetlands. Different frogs breed at different times of the year, so when to look for eggs is dependent on the species of interest. Eggs typically hatch within a couple weeks of being deposited, so there is a fairly short window for detection. Frog eggs can sometimes be identified to family, but are somewhat tricky to identify to species level.  Tadpole identification can be similarly tricky, so learning and listening to frog calls is definitely the easiest method for determining what frogs and toads are using a wetland. Tadpoles are a little easier to monitor, as most species have tadpoles present in wetlands for longer periods of time. This is, again, variable by species.  Most species have tadpole stages that last at least several months, but the range in timing for different species is everything from a couple of weeks to several years.  The smaller frog and toad species tend to have shorter tadpole cycles, while the larger frogs and toads tend to have longer times to metamorphosis.