New York Natural Heritage Program
Northern Cricket Frog
Acris crepitans Baird, 1854
Amphibians

Threats [-]
Exact causes for the cricket frog's decline in New York are not certain, but it is clear that the species cannot tolerate urbanization above some threshold. The small body size, coupled with a vulnerable overwintering strategy and a short life span (average 4 months; max 4-5 years) makes (sub)populations highly extinction prone. Population size therefore fluctuates widely, and persistence at individual sites is highly variable from year to year. Gray and Brown (2005) outlined an extinction scenario that reflected a combination of 1) a brief adult life span; 2) small population size; 3) prolonged droughts; and 4) anthropogenic alterations of aquatic breeding habitats. Hecht et al. (1996) mentioned predation (by bullfrogs), overwintering mortality, landfill leachate, invasive plants, water level fluctuations, water quality, and pesticides as potential threats to viability. This last threat appears to be especially noteworthy since the sex ratios of cricket frogs in Illinois have been shown to be altered by several different organochlorine pesticides (Reeder et al. 1998), and sex ratios in the northern portion of the species' range appear to be male biased in comparison to those in the south. Furthermore, the commonly applied herbicide Atrazine has been implicated in sex ratio reversal in cricket frog populations (Reeder et al. 1998).

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices [-]
The State Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy states that the development of a statewide recovery plan, as well as the restoration of populations from extirpated sites, should be management priorities. Since most of the extant populations occur on scattered waterbodies on private property, the implementation of any comprehensive management strategy will be difficult.

Research Needs [-]
Life history, (meta)population dynamics and causes for decline all merit research focus in New York. Because of the wide geographic variability this species demonstrates, even within the northern portion of its range, studies specifically tailored to New York will need to be implemented. However, because of the very low population numbers and their occurrence chiefly on private lands, any comprehensive research project on cricket frogs in southeastern New York will be challenging.