Description

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Rana areolata attains a snout-vent length of 105mm in males and 113mm in females. It has a stocky body with short legs, a conspicuous sacral hump and a large head. A post-tympanic ridge and dorsolateral folds are present. The dorsal surface is smooth to warty and ranges in ground color from creamy white to black. Round to irregular spots are present, usually with pale borders. The ventral surface ranges from immaculate to heavily mottled. The groin and conceled portion of the limbs are often yellowish-green in color. The legs are banded and the upper jaw is mottled. Males have lateral vocal sacs.

R. a. areolata and R. a. circulosa are subspecies.

Reference

Altig, R. and Lohoefener, R. (). ''Rana areolata.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, .-..

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Distribution and Habitat

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Ranges from North Carolina, through Florida, to southeastern Louisiana, and from eastern Texas northward to Wisconsin and Indiana.

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Behavior

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Male R. areolata produce calls to attract females in the mating season. The male's breeding call is a loud, deep snore, and it is known to sound as if he is saying "waaaaaater."

Communication Channels: acoustic

Other Communication Modes: choruses

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Conservation Status

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Although these frogs are not listed as endangered or threatened, they may be in decline in some areas due to the introductions of carnivorous fish.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Phil Myers, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Life Cycle

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The female lays anywhere from 3,000 - 7,000 eggs in a large mass. The female usually lays its eggs in shallow water, near tall grass. Upon hatching, the tadpole is anywhere from 38.1 - 50.8 mm in length. Tadpoles metamorphose in midsummer of their second year, generally the first week of July. Lithobates areolatus areolatus becomes sexually mature no earlier than 3 years of age.

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Benefits

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Information is unknown.

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Benefits

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Information is unknown.

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Associations

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Rana areoleta is a generalist carnivore, and may impact the populations of many species of small vertebrates and invertebrates. It may also be a prey item for other species, especially before metamorphosis.

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Trophic Strategy

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Lithobates areolatus areolatus generally eats insects, as well as small crayfish, amphibians, and reptiles.

Animal Foods: amphibians; reptiles; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Distribution

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Lithobates areolatus areolatus is found in the central to southern region of the United States. There are 3 subspecies of R. areolata. They are R. a. areolata (crawfish frog), R. a. circulosa (crayfish frog), and R. a. aesopus (gopher frog). The different subspecies of R. areolata are found in generally the same area, around the Mississippi Valley. Rana areolata areolata is found in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kansas. Rana areolata circulosa is found in the states of Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Rana areolata aesopus is found in Florida.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Habitat

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Grasslands, prairies, and woodlands are areas where R. areolata is most likely to be encountered. However, it is hard to find R. areolata because it lives underground most of the year in old, vacant burrows of other animals. The opening of these burrows are about 76.2 mm wide and are usually covered with grass. However, during the mating season, R. areolata resides near river floodplains, ponds, and lakes.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial ; freshwater

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams

Other Habitat Features: riparian

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Morphology

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The length of the adult R. areolata is between 63.5 and 114.3 mm. It has a large head, which is 1/3 of its body size. This frog has large eyes and its ears are anywhere from 1/2 - 2/3 the size of its eye. Lithobates areolatus areolatus is short and stout, and its body is a grayish or brownish color with spots. These spots range in size from small to large, they are a darker shade of brown than the body, and they are outlined in a lighter shade of tan. The hidden parts of the legs, feet, and groin area are a yellowish color, while its belly is white. The skin on the back of R. areolata is warty and has a rough feel to it. Lithobates areolatus areolatus has long, well-developed hind legs. The length of the frog's strong legs is equal to the distance between the leg and the eye of the frog, or its nostril. Lithobates areolatus areolatus has 4 digits connected to its legs, and the fourth is quite long and is not webbed together with the other 3 digits. The male's thumb is slightly enlarged compared to that of the female.

Range length: 63.5 to 114.3 mm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes shaped differently

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Associations

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Carnivorous fish will eat tadpoles of this species. It is hard to catch adult R. areolata because it lives most of its life underground and therefore avoids being caught by humans or predators. These frogs are quite fast on land, yet slow movers in the water. Its only defense mechanism in the water is to swim to the bottom of the lake or pond by keeping its front legs close to the body while using its hind legs to propel itself forward.

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Kimberly Adams, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
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Reproduction

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Lithobates areolatus areolatus breeds during the months from February to April, and it is sometimes seen breeding in large numbers. After a heavy rainfall, R. areolata normally comes out of its underground home, and heads toward a lake or river to breed. The male attracts the female's attention by producing a breeding call, which sounds like a deep snore. The female lays anywhere from 3,000 - 7,000 eggs in a large mass. The female usually lays its eggs in shallow waters, near tall grasses.

Breeding season: February to April

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 3 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 3 years.

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External ); oviparous

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Adams, K. 2001. "Lithobates areolatus areolatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Lithobates_areolatus_areolatus.html
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Crawfish frog

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The crawfish frog (Lithobates areolatus)[6] is a medium-sized species of frog native to the prairies and grasslands of the central United States.[7] It gets its name because it inhabits the burrows of crayfish for most of the year. They have defined golden or black circles all over their body.[8]

Description

The crawfish frog grows from 2.2 to 3.0 in (5.6 to 7.6 cm) in length. It ranges from yellow to brown in color, with a white ventral surface. The numerous dark brown spots on its back each has a light-colored ring around it. It has a distinct skin fold on either side of its back, which are much more pronounced in males than females, and a relatively small tympanum.

Behavior

Crawfish frogs are found primarily in association with prairie or grassland habitat, though they will also make use of pastures and overgrown fields. They spend most of the year in association with a terrestrial crayfish burrow. This species spends a substantial amount of time active and above ground even on hot summer days, but they never stray far from their burrow which serves as an important retreat from predators, a vital source of water, an escape from grassland fires, and a means to get below the frost line during winter. Crawfish frogs feed opportunistically on insects and other small invertebrates that pass by their burrow.

The crawfish frog breeds following mild, rainy weather in mid-March throughout most of its range (breeding occurs much earlier in the southern portion of its distribution). During this time, males seek out ephemeral ponds and wetlands that lack fish and begin calling. The low-frequency call may carry over a mile, drawing females in from the surrounding area. Once the females arrive, amplexus takes place and the females deposit up to 7,000 eggs at a time in large, globular masses. The eggs hatch in about 12 days, and the tadpoles complete metamorphosis into froglets within three or four months. The newly metamorphosed juvenile frogs must quickly find a crayfish burrow to occupy to avoid predation. Crawfish frogs become sexually mature at two to three years of age and may live up to seven years or more in the wild.

Geographic range

The crawfish frog is found in former prairie regions from Indiana west to Kansas, south to Texas, and east to Mississippi, though it is believed to be locally extirpated in many regions, and remaining populations are often localized and isolated.

In 2016 a sizable population was documented in Sumter County, Alabama.[9]

A new county record was added in 2017 in Perry County, Arkansas within the Ouachita Mountains. See Notes below.

Subspecies

The two subspecies of crawfish frog (L. areolata) are:

  • Southern crawfish frog, L. a. areolatus (Baird & Girard, 1852)
  • Northern crawfish frog, L. a. circulosus (Davis and Rice, 1883)

Conservation status

The crawfish frog is listed as near threatened by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and is listed as endangered in Iowa (where it has likely been extirpated) and Indiana. Habitat loss is the biggest threat to this species, though disease (chytridiomycosis) and competitive pressure from other anurans have also been identified as potential stresses.

Notes

  1. ^ Geoffrey Hammerson; Matthew Parris (2004). "Lithobates areolatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2004: e.T58546A11799946. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T58546A11799946.en.
  2. ^ Hillis & Wilcox (2005)
  3. ^ Hillis, D. M. (2007)
  4. ^ Pauly et al. (2009)
  5. ^ Frost et al. (2006)
  6. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Lithobates areolatus (Baird and Girard, 1852)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  7. ^ Busby and Brecheisen (1997)
  8. ^ Hoffman et al. (2010)
  9. ^ Pillion, Dennis (2016-03-17). "New frog species found in Alabama makes state second froggiest in the nation". al.com. Retrieved 2016-03-17.

LITHOBATES AREOLATUS CIRCULOSUS (Northern Crawfish Frog). USA: ARKANSAS: Perry Co.: Off Cherry Hill Loop Rd. (Co. Rd. 42), ca. 1.6 km S of St. Hwy 60 (34.967367ºN, 92.939558ºW; WGS 84, elev. 96.93 m) 23 February 2017. Anthony Holt. Verified by Christopher S. Thigpen. Arkansas State University Museum of Zoology (ASUMZ 33611). Calling adult male collected by hand from a tractor tire rut in a cattle pasture. New county record (Trauth et al. 2004. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Arkansas. 421 pp.). Adds an additional record within the Fourche Mountain subdivision of the Ouachita Mountains.

References

  • Busby, W. H. & Brecheisen, W. R. (1997): Chorusing Phenology and Habitat Associations of the Crawfish Frog, Rana areolata, (Ranidae:Anura) in Kansas. The Southwestern Naturalist 42 (2):210-217.
  • Engbrecht, N. J. & Lannoo, M. J. (2010): A review of the status and distribution of Crawfish Frogs (Lithobates areolatus) in Indiana. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 119:64-73.
  • Frost, D. R., Grant, T., Faivovich, J., Bain, R. H., Haas, A., Haddad, C. F. B., De Sa, R. O., Channing, A., Wilkinson, M., Donnellan, S. C., Raxworthy, C. J., Campbell, J. A., Blotto, B. L., Moler, P., Drewes, R. C., Nussbaum, R. A., Lynch, J. D., Green, D. M., & Wheeler, W. C. (2006): The Amphibian Tree of Life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297:1-291.
  • Hillis, D.M., Frost, J.S.,& Wright, D.A. (1983): Phylogeny and biogeography of the Rana pipiens complex: A biochemical evaluation. Systematic Zoology 32: 132-143.
  • Hillis, D.M. (1988): Systematics of the Rana pipiens complex: Puzzle and paradigm. Annual Review of Systematics and Ecology 19: 39-63.
  • Hillis, D.M. & Wilcox, T.P. (2005): Phylogeny of the New World true frogs (Rana). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 34(2): 299–314. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.10.007 PMID 15619443 PDF fulltext.
  • Hillis, D. M. (2007) Constraints in naming parts of the Tree of Life. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 42: 331–338.
  • Hoffman, A. S., Heemeyer J. L., Williams, P. J., Robb, J. R., Karns, D. R., Kinney, V. C., Engbrecht, N. J., & Lannoo, M. J. (2010): Strong Site Fidelity and a Variety of Imaging Techniques Reveal Around-the-Clock and Extended Activity Patterns in Crawfish Frogs (Lithobates areolatus). Bioscience 60(10):829-834.
  • Kinney, V. C., Heemeyer, J. L., Pessier, A. P., & Lannoo, M. J. (2011): Seasonal pattern of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection and mortality in Lithobates areolatus: Affirmation of Vredenburg's “10,000 zoospore rule.” PLoS ONE 6(3):e16708. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016708.
  • Kinney, V. C. (2011): Adult Survivorship and Juvenile Recruitment in Populations of Crawfish Frogs (Lithobates areolatus), with Additional Consideration of the Population Sizes of Associated Pond Breeding Species. Indiana State University (Thesis).
  • Parris, J. M., & Semlitsch R. D. (1998): Asymmetric competition in larval amphibian communities: conservation implications for the northern crawfish frog, Rana areolata circulosa. Oecologia 116:219-226.
  • Pauly, Greg B., Hillis, David M. & Cannatella, David C. (2009): Taxonomic freedom and the role of official lists of species names. Herpetologica 65: 115-128. PDF fulltext
  • Iowa Herpetology: Crawfish Frog

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Crawfish frog: Brief Summary

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The crawfish frog (Lithobates areolatus) is a medium-sized species of frog native to the prairies and grasslands of the central United States. It gets its name because it inhabits the burrows of crayfish for most of the year. They have defined golden or black circles all over their body.

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