Ohio Frog and Toad Calling Survey

Northern Spring Peeper

(Pseudacris crucifer crucifer)

Distribution of the Northern Spring Peeper in Ohio.

An adult Northern Spring Peeper

Species Description:   The Northern Spring Peeper only achieves snout-vent lengths of 1.9 to 3.2 cm (3/4 to 1 1/4 inches).  The defining characteristic of this frog is the dark "X" on its back.  Sometimes this pattern is unclear.  The skin is smooth and the ground color of the Northern Spring Peeper is some combination of yellow, brown, tan, reddish, or olive.  Small discs are present on each toe.  A faint line extends across the crown between the eyes.  Unlike other species of the genus Pseudacris in Ohio, there is no white line along the upper lip.  Males have a midline vocal sac.   
Habitat: This small treefrog utilizes swamps and moist woodlands.  It stays on the ground in thickets and under the cover of dead leaves and rotting logs. 
Reproductive Activity: Northern Spring Peepers begin calling in late February or early March and continue through late May.  This familiar call is a series of short, high pitched, one syllable whistles.  A full chorus of Northern Spring Peepers can be deafening. 
Ohio Distribution: Northern Spring Peepers occur throughout Ohio.
Status: Walker (1946) noted that a significant portion of western Ohio has no records of this species and suggested that the gap would be filled by additional field efforts.  Extensive field efforts have added localities to the southwest corner of the state, but few to west central and northwest Ohio where it appears to be isolated to remnant, isolated wood lots.  Nowhere in western Ohio have Northern Spring Peepers been found in the massive chorusing aggregations that occur in eastern Ohio, especially in the south eastern counties.
Photographic Recommendations: Because four other small brown treefrogs occur in Ohio it is imperative that photographs focus on diagnostic characteristics.  The "X" on the back of this species is the most important characteristic.  In addition to this mark, a dorsal photo should show the dark line between the eyes.

Last modified:
Saturday, March 26, 2005

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