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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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Risk Factors and Declines in Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)

Risk Factors and Declines in Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)

(p.75) Thirteen Risk Factors and Declines in Northern Cricket Frogs (Acris crepitans)
Amphibian Declines

Val R. Beasley

Sandra A. Faeh

Brigit Wikoff

Craig Staehle

Tim Halliday

Joyce Eisold

Donald Nichols

Rebecca Cole

Anna M. Schotthoefer

Martin Greenwell

Lauren E. Brown

University of California Press

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

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