Navigation Links
N.C.'s Southern Cricket Frog populations declining
Date:7/10/2013

A recent U.S. Geological Survey report confirmed that the nation's amphibians, including frogs, toads and salamanders, are disappearing "at an alarming and rapid rate." A biologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found that North Carolina's Southern Cricket Frog populations mirror this disturbing national trend.

"It's a steady flow of bad news for amphibians," said Jonathan Perry Micancin [mih-CAN-sin], a visiting lecturer and recent Ph.D. graduate in UNC's Biology Department. The cold-blooded animals require wetlands to breed and surrounding forests for food and shelter. They play an important role in nature's food chain, Micancin said, eating insects and providing food for larger animals, including snakes and birds.

For his dissertation and ongoing research, Micancin studied two different but co-occurring species in North Carolina, the Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans) and the Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus). The northern species occupies the Piedmont as far west as the Appalachian foothills, while the southern species is found in the state's Coastal Plain, between the Piedmont and the coast. The two overlap, a condition biologists call "sympatry," in the upper Coastal Plain.

Micancin and his students searched for the tiny frogs they are no more than 1 inches long in wetlands throughout most of the state, from Crowders Mountain, near Charlotte, to Carolina Beach, south of Wilmington, to Merchants Millpond, in Gates County, and Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County. He used their distinctive calls as identifiers.

"The two species are hard to identify visually because they are so small and well-camouflaged." said Micancin. "Fortunately, their calls are very different: Southern Cricket Frogs 'chirp' and Northern Cricket Frogs 'rattle.' " Using statistical analysis, he confirmed that it is "easier to identify them by sound than by sight."

Micancin and colleagues looked at specimens collected in the 1960s and housed in the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, then compared those to field data they collected over several summers. While the Northern Cricket Frog remains in many places, the Southern Cricket Frog has disappeared from the upper Coastal Plain between the Chowan River and the Cape Fear River.

"We don't know yet why this is happening, but we can expect that it does not bode well for amphibians and other animals that share their habitats, including humans," Micancin said.

It may be that the Northern Cricket Frog is "bullying out the Southern Cricket Frogs," which are slightly smaller, but human activity may also play an important role, he said. For example, the Southern Cricket Frog may be more sensitive to development than the Northern Cricket Frog. Climate change also could be affecting both species, which aren't able to survive droughts or winter temperature fluctuations as well as other frogs, he added.

Micancin, whose family has lived for generations in northeastern North Carolina, pointed to significant changes to the Great Dismal Swamp and other natural habitats in the state.

"Over recent decades, as the state has grown, we've seen more roads and parking lots, rural residential developments, larger farms and clear-cutting of pinelands," he said, all of which are affecting the habitats of cricket frogs and other amphibians, especially in northeastern counties.

Yet through his family's heritage, Micancin is keenly aware of the high poverty and unemployment rates there, and the critical need for more economic opportunities which usually means more development.

"It's a balancing act, and we need more research to understand how to preserve habitats for hunting, fishing and conservation while providing for the economic needs of North Carolinians. I'm hopeful but realistic about how successful we will be." he added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathy Neal
kcneal@unc.edu
919-740-5673
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Illegal marijuana grows threaten fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada
2. University of Southern California scientists reveal natural process that blocks viruses
3. Rapid climate change and the role of the Southern Ocean
4. Southern California sagebrush better suited to climate change, UCI study finds
5. 2 new marine protected areas created on Argentinas southern coasts
6. Southern insect scientists to meet in Baton Rouge in March
7. 24 new species of flower fly have been found in Central and Southern America
8. New study shows stable fisher population in the Southern Sierra Nevada
9. First evidence of ocean acidification affecting live marine creatures in the Southern Ocean
10. Report: Bushmeat pushes Southern African species to the brink
11. Sorghum eyed as a southern bioenergy crop
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/1/2016)... Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first day of ... plans to develop a first of its kind workplace ... IBM Watson. In the first application of ... IBM ), and Welltok will create a new ... with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment ... Chester, Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS ... in Austin, Texas , will significantly ... modifications, installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track ... commented, "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... 22, 2016 ... of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced ... Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Reichert Technologies, which has ... to pursue the highest level of accuracy and quality with the addition of ... the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable and tough enough for the most demanding ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... , ... Global Stem Cells Group, has announced ... new facility will provide advanced protocols and state-of-the-art techniques in cellular medicine, focusing ... The new GSCG clinic is headed by four prominent Ecuadorian physicians, including Pablo ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... -- Early-career researchers from Indonesia ... Uganda and Yemen ...   Indonesia , Nepal , ... Yemen are being honored for their accomplishments in nutrition, ... for mentoring young women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, biology ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016 NX Prenatal ... its proprietary NeXosome® technology for early warning of ... its most recent study by Dr. Thomas ... the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine,s (SMFM) annual meeting ... 1-6 th , 2016.  The presentation reported initial ...
Breaking Biology Technology: