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Northern Crawfish Frog | by Justin.Michels
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Northern Crawfish Frog

Lithobates areolatus

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. Interestingly, 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.

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Uploaded on March 22, 2015