Cricket Frog
Acris crepitans and Acris gryllus


Listen to the Call of the Northern Cricket Frog


Listen to the Call of the Southern Cricket Frog

Southern cricket frog.
Photo by Aubrey Heupel

Description:  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. Two species — the northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) and the southern cricket frog (Acris gryllus) — are found in North Carolina. They are very similar in appearance. 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 of southern cricket frogs are usually more clean-cut. The legs of southern cricket frogs are slightly longer than those of northern cricket frogs.

Habitats and Habits:  Northern cricket frogs are found primarily in the Piedmont. Southern cricket frogs are found primarily in the Coastal Plain. Cricket frogs are active day and night and can be found in the shoreline vegetation of ponds and marshes, and along the banks of streams and rivers. The eggs of both species are laid singly or in small clumps, and the tadpole stage lasts about six to 13 weeks. The tadpoles of both species have distinct black tail tips.

Call:  Northern cricket frogs call from April through August, and their call sounds like pebbles being clicked together, or “gick-gick-gick.” Southern cricket frogs call from February to October, and their call is similar to, but slightly more metallic than, that of northern cricket frogs.

Frog Fact:  Although populations remain stable in North Carolina, northern cricket frogs have experienced severe declines in northern portions of their range, especially in the midwestern United States and southern Canada.

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The shaded region represents the range of the northern cricket frog in North Carolina.


The shaded region represents the range of the southern cricket frog in North Carolina.

Southern cricket frog.
Photo by JD Willson

Northern cricket frog: most cricket frogs have a dark triangle between their eyes.
Photo by Aubrey Heupel

Northern cricket frog.
Photo by ME Dorcas

 

 



Northern cricket frog.
Photo by RW Van Devender
Ragged dark stripes on the rear of the thighs of northern cricket frogs distinguish them from southern cricket frogs.
Photo by JD Willson


This website created by: Grant Connette and Evan Eskew.
For comments or questions contact M. Dorcas: midorcas@davidson.edu.
M. Dorcas homepage: http://www.bio.davidson.edu/dorcas
Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina 28035-1719.

Text and maps from: Dorcas, M. E., S. J. Price, J. C Beane, and S. S. Cross. 2007. The Frogs and Toads of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Raleigh, NC. – Copyright by Michael E. Dorcas

Southern cricket frog call provided by Dave Ross.

Partial Funding for this website provided by a Associate Colleges of the South, National Science Foundation, and Duke Energy.