Pseudacris crucifer - (Wied-Neuwied, 1838)
Spring Peeper
Other English Common Names: Northern Spring Peeper, spring peeper
Synonym(s): Hyla crucifer
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pseudacris crucifer (Wied-Neuwied, 1838) (TSN 207303)
French Common Names: rainette crucifère
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105099
Element Code: AAABC05090
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Frogs and Toads
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Anura Hylidae Pseudacris
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Collins, J. T. 1990. Standard common and current scientific names for North American amphibians and reptiles. 3rd ed. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Herpetological Circular No. 19. 41 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B90COL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Pseudacris crucifer
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly included in the genus Hyla; transferred to the genus Pseudacris by Hedges (1986), based on allozyme data (see also Highton 1991). Proposed as sole member of distinct genus, Parapseudacris, by Hardy and Burroughs (1986); this proposal has not gained any significant support. Cocroft (1994) analyzed morphological and biochemical data sets and concluded that the spring peeper does not arise within Pseudacris but is the sister taxon to the clade containing the P. nigrita group, P. ocularis, and the P. ornata group; he concluded also that placement of crucifer in the genus Pseudacris is appropriate but noted that inclusion in a monotypic genus also could be justified. da Silva (1997) recommended that for now Hedges' (1986) definition of Pseudacris should be maintained.

A molecular phylogeny of Pseudacris based on mtDNA data (Moriarty and Cannatella 2004) revealed four strongly supported clades within Pseudacris: (1) A West Coast Clade containing regilla and cadaverina, (2) a Fat Frog Clade including ornata, streckeri, and illinoensis, (3) a Crucifer Clade consisting of crucifer and ocularis, and (4) a Trilling Frog Clade containing all other Pseudacris. Within the Trilling Frog Clade, brimleyi and brachyphona form the sister group to the Nigrita Clade: nigrita, feriarum, triseriata, kalmi, clarkii, and maculata. The Nigrita Clade shows geographic division into three clades: (1) populations of maculata and triseriata west of the Mississippi River and Canadian populations, (2) southeastern United States populations of feriarum and nigrita, and (3) northeastern United States populations of feriarum, kalmi, and triseriata. Current taxonomy does not reflect the phylogenetic relationships among populations of the Nigrita Clade (Moriarty and Canatella 2004). For example, the molecular data appear to indicate that triseriata, maculata, and clarkii in the western United States are conspecific, but the authors indicated that further sampling and analysis of the Trilling Frog Clade are needed before their relationships can be determined and an appropriate taxonomy established. Moriarty and Cannatella (2004) found that subspecific epithets for crucifer (crucifer and bartramiana) and nigrita (nigrita and verrucosa) are uninformative, and they therefore discouraged recognition of these subspecies. They concluded that further study is needed to determine if illinoensis warrants status as a distinct species. Molecular data were consistent with retention of regilla, cadaverina, ocularis, and crucifer in the genus Pseudacris.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 10May2016
Global Status Last Changed: 13Nov2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Abundant over most of large range.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (10May2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S5), Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S4), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S4), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S5), Maine (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S5), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (S4), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S4), Pennsylvania (S5), Rhode Island (S5), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S5)
Canada Labrador (S1S2), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S5), Quebec (S5)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Low) (26Jan2015)
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range extends throughout the eastern United States and adjacent southeastern Canada east to Labrador (Bergman 1999), west to Manitoba, Minnesota, Iowa, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and eastern Texas, south to the Gulf Coast and northern Florida (Conant and Collis 1991).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range.

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but is very large.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Wetland drainage reduces available habitat. Does not thrive in areas of urbanization and intense agriculture. However, the species does not face major threats on a global scale.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Population trend is unknown but probably stable to slightly declining.

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, unknown level of change in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences. Has declined in some areas due to loss and degradation of habitat but has increased in other locations as a result of human creation of water bodies suitable for breeding.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Protect wetlands from drainage for urbanization/ agriculture.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends throughout the eastern United States and adjacent southeastern Canada east to Labrador (Bergman 1999), west to Manitoba, Minnesota, Iowa, eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and eastern Texas, south to the Gulf Coast and northern Florida (Conant and Collis 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada LB, MB, NB, NS, ON, PE, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
IA Cedar (19031), Clayton (19043), Dubuque (19061)
KS Bourbon (20011), Cherokee (20021), Crawford (20037), Johnson (20091), Linn (20107), Miami (20121)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
07 Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Maquoketa (07060006)+, Lower Cedar (07080206)+
10 Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+, Marmaton (10290104)+, South Grand (10290108)+
11 Spring (11070207)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small frog that often has a dark X on its back.
General Description: The upper side is gray, pink, brown, olive, or yellowish, usually with a dark figure more or less resembling an "X" (may be distorted or fragmented). A dark stripe runs from the snout to the eardrum, and a dark stripe extends across the head between the eyes. The hind toes are not distinctly webbed, and the toe tips are not greatly expanded. Maximum snout-vent length is around 1.5 inches (3.7 cm). Newly metamorphosed young are about 14 mm in snout-vent length. In mature males, the throat skin is loose and dark during the breeding season. The expanded vocal sac is rounded. Breeding calls consist of high single peeping whistles, with a slight rise at the end, repeated every second or so. Males also produce trilled whistles. A distant chorus of many frogs sounds like "sleigh bells." Larvae have tail fins of moderate height. The fins often have large dark blotches and a clear area near the tail muscles. The eyes of larvae are at the outer margin of the head when viewed from above. Larvae reach a total length up to around 1.4 inches (35 mm).
Reproduction Comments: The breeding season is in early spring in the northern part of the range but may occur in fall, winter, or early spring in the south. Adult females lay up to several hundred eggs (deposited singly on submerged vegetation or other objects). Eggs hatch in a few to several days. Larvae metamorphose in 2-4 months. Breeders in Maryland were 2-4 years old (Lyken and Forester 1987). Single site may include many dozens of breeding individuals.
Ecology Comments: In Michigan, nonbreeding home range diameters, established around forest debris and vegetation, ranged from 1.2 to 5.5 m (Delzell 1958).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates between breeding pools and adjacent nonbreeding terrestrial habitats.
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Spring peepers inhabit moist wooded areas near breeding pools. They are mostly ground dwelling, and they hide under logs, rocks, or other objects when not active on the surface, such as during the cold winter months in the north. Eggs are laid and larvae develop in small temporary or permanent waters of ponds (including those in fields with nearby forest), marshes, ditches, and swamps, especially those with standing plants, sticks, or other debris. In northern Minnesota, successful reproduction in acidic bog water either does not occur or is a rare event (Karns 1992). Males call from among vegetation adjacent to or standing in water, or while perched low in woody vegetation away from water.


Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Metamorphosed frogs feed opportunistically on various small terrestrial invertebrates. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Peepers are most active at dusk and at night but are also active diurnally, especially in wet weather.

In autumn, long after the breeding season, spring peepers regularly call from upland areas that are far from water. The significance of these nonbreeding vocalizations has not been clearly established.

Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 4 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Hylid Frogs (Treefrogs)

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy major highway such that frogs rarely if ever cross successfully; intensive urban development dominated by buildings and pavement and lacking suitable vegetated frog refuges.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Available information is limited but indicates that hylids generally exhibit limited movements on a short-term basis. In New Jersey, Freda and Morin (1984) and Freda and Gonzalez (1986) demonstrated that individual Hyla andersonii often travel distances of 100 m from breeding ponds during the nonbreeding season. In montane Colorado, Spencer (1964) found that Pseudacris triseriata range into wet meadows usually within about 700 m of their breeding sites and sometimes cross a few hundred meters of upland habitat. Kay (1989) determined that most Pseudacris cadaverina individuals range over small segments of streamcourse; 83 percent of movements were less than 25 m in a 1-year study. In Michigan, nonbreeding home range diameters of Pseudacris crucifer, established around forest debris and vegetation, ranged from 1.2 to 5.5 m (Delzell 1958).

Based on this information it appears that 1 km is an appropriate separation distance for unsuitable habitat. Despite limited data suggesting restricted movements, dispersal data are scant, and these frogs are clearly physically capable of long moves. It seems unlikely that occupied locations separated by a gap of less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Inferred extent distance pertains to distance from breeding sites.
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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