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Amphibian DeclinesThe Conservation Status of United States Species$
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Michael Lannoo

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520235922

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520235922.001.0001

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Overwintering in Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)

Overwintering in Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)

(p.55) Ten Overwintering in Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)
Amphibian Declines

Jason T. Irwin

University of California Press

Although winter weather in north-temperate regions may dominate 6–9 months of the year, this season has received relatively little attention in studies of amphibian life history. While some aspects of behavioral and physiological responses to cold have been elucidated, this understanding has not been generally applied to the management and conservation of amphibian populations. This chapter addresses this issue by providing a basic description of the various overwintering methods used by amphibians and of the physiological responses that accompany these methods. It also describes the unique overwintering method of northern cricket frogs (Acris crepitans) and considers how their physiology and winter habitat use may be contributing to the recent severe cricket frog population declines, especially in the northern portions of their range. First, it examines the relationship between hibernation behavior/physiology and species decline. It then proposes a scenario that best explains long-term extinction of populations, rather than reduced population size.

Keywords:   Acris crepitans, northern cricket frogs, population declines, extinction, amphibians, overwintering, physiology, winter habitat, hibernation, reduced population size

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