Blanchard's Cricket Frog
(Acris crepitans blanchardi)
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Description: The Blanchard's Cricket Frog is a very small amphibian (comparable to the Western Chorus Frog or the Spring Peeper in size). They usually have a rough texture and a triangular-shaped mark on their head, between the eyes. Cricket Frogs are members of the family Hylidae, similar to other frogs such as Spring Peepers and Gray Treefrogs.
Habitat/Ecology: The Blanchard's Cricket Frog is reported to prefer the shores of wetlands or rivers with muddy banks and sparse vegetation. They eat primarily insects and one study suggested that a healthy population of these frogs (roughly 1000) could consume approximately 4.8 million insects in a single season (Johnson and Christiansen 1976). Therefore, the importance of these frogs as predators of insects is apparent.
Remarks: Their call sounds like stones being struck together or a bag of marbles being vigorously shook. They are normally found in the southeastern portion of the state, however, they are said to have experienced drastic population declines (even in those areas) since the 1970's and are now Endangered within Wisconsin.
I have never heard or found a Cricket Frog within the La Crosse area and they are reported to exist only in a small corner of south-western Wisconsin. They are not common (if present at all) and anyone who positively hears or identifies them anywhere should immediately contact myself or the DNR's Bureau of Endangered Resources.
These frogs are the only amphibian listed as "Endangered" by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Therefore, it is illegal to harm one or capture them without a permit (breaking this law can result in a fine of several thousand dollars and jail time).