Cricket Frog Essay

1319 Words 6 Pages
Blanchard’s Cricket Frog (Acris blanchardi)
Introduction
As humans, we get the opportunity to share and coexist on this planet with some extraordinarily unique and diverse organisms. Of such organisms, reptiles and amphibians are some of the most adaptable organisms on Earth, residing on every continent except bitter cold Antarctica. Here in Minnesota, There are 22 species of amphibians and 31 species of reptiles, ranging from the fast moving salamanders to the slow and nimble turtles. I got the opportunity to further research the Blanchard’s cricket frog, in hopes of understanding their feeding behavior, reproductive patterns, seasonal movements, and communication interspecifically as well as intraspecifically. Blanchard’s cricket frogs
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“The decline of Blanchard's cricket frogs may be attributed in part to the vulnerability of its preferred habitat to human disturbance, especially pollution of breeding areas by fertilizers and various agricultural chemicals” (Minnesota DNR). Other contributing factors leading to the species’ decline include, drought, severe winters, acidified ecosystems and disease. The life expectancy of the Blanchard’s cricket frog is only four months, with only five percent of the population surviving the winter, so it is precedent that significant efforts are made to reduce overall habitat loss. In many cases, complete population turnover can occur in 16 months. The Blanchard's cricket frog, although in the tree frog family, is the least arboreal lacking the enlarged toe pads present on their close relatives. Instead, their hind feet are webbed allowing them to live an aquatic lifestyle instead of one high up in the trees. “Blanchard’s Cricket Frogs are considered terrestrial and semi-aquatic, remaining close to permanent water bodies including lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers” (Moriarty Pg. 93). They are often seen loafing and foraging along “muddy shorelines with abundant emergent vegetation and openings of mud or gravel” (Moriarty Pg. 93). Having viable habitat is important in sustaining a healthy population of any species and the Blanchard’s cricket frog is of no …show more content…
Male and female Blanchard’s cricket frogs “reach a minimum adult size in about two months after metamorphosis, but continue to grow until they die, usually within one year post-metamorphosis” (McCallum Pg. 121). In many instances, these small frogs feed on tiny invertebrates eating enough to astonishingly fill their stomachs three times a day, enabling them to grow at such an increased rate. “There is a report of attempted cannibalism by adults on metamorphs” (McCallum Pg.121). Blanchard’s cricket frogs are also opportunistic feeders, taking advantage of available food sources eating through the day and night. “A study in Iowa estimated that 1,000 cricket frogs living around a small pond would consume about 4.8 million small arthropods, mostly insects, in one year” (Dickson Pg. 20). There are still conflicting suggestions whether a Blanchard’s cricket frogs diet consists mainly of terrestrial or aquatic invertebrates, so more research looking into this topic will need to be undertaken. Food is an essential piece of survival within the natural world and this project has enabled me to delve into the feeding behavior of the Blanchard’s cricket

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