This week on Discover Nature, watch – and listen – for the northern cricket frog.
Commonly seen along the edges of ponds and streams, especially on mud flats and gravel bars, scientists are monitoring Missouri populations due to rapid declines in other states.
The northern cricket frog can appear in a variety of colors from gray to tan to greenish-tan or brown, with a white belly.
Their metallic calls resemble the sound of small pebbles being rapidly struck together.
Warm weather stimulates males to chorus, and breeding peaks in late June in shallows of ponds and backwaters with an abundance of aquatic plants.
Females may lay up to 400 eggs, either singly or in small packets attached to submerged vegetation. Eggs hatch in a few days and tadpoles begin metamorphosis five to ten weeks later.
Northern cricket frogs prey on many insects that humans consider pests, and their calls provide a musical chorus day and night in Missouri’s outdoors.
Learn more about Missouri’s northern cricket frogs and how to identify them with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide.
Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.