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Species Spotlight: Spring Peeper

written by: Rose Kivi•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 7/2/2010

Read about Spring Peepers; the tiny frogs with big voices.

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    Spring Peepers are tiny Chorus Frogs that are about one inch in length when full grown. Their skin coloring can be brown, green, gray, olive, a pale yellow or a pink tone. Spring Peepers can be identified by the "X" markings on their backs and toe pads that help them to climb. They are nocturnal and are rarely seen but easily heard. Their loud high pitched peeps sound like the peeps of young birds. If a person is lucky enough to spot one of these small frogs, the first thing that would most likely catch the person's eyes are the frogs large shiny vocal pouches. When Spring Peepers vocalize, their vocal sacs inflate and deflate as air fills and empties their sacs.

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    Adult & Tadpoles

    Adult Spring PeeperTadpole Metamorphosis
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    Scientific Classification

    Scientific Name: Pseudacris crucifer

    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Chordata

    Subphylum: Vertebrata

    Class: Amphibia

    Order: Anura

    Family: Hylidae

    Genus: Pseudacris

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    Habitat and Diet

    Spring Peepers are found in the eastern United States and southeastern Canada. They live in moist wooded areas such as swamps and marshes. Spring Peepers spend a lot of time on land hiding under rocks and logs or hiding on low branches above the water. The little frogs go into the water to mate. Their diets consist of worms and insects. When winter comes, Spring Peepers hide under rocks or logs and hibernate. Parts of their bodies freeze and form ice crystals. Their livers produce glucose that is pumped to the vital organs. The glucose prevents the vital organs from freezing. When the weather warms, the Spring Peepers defrost and wake up from hibernation.

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    When mating season comes in the spring, males go to the water and call out to the females. The females come to the males call and they mate in the water. Once the male is done with the mating process, he leaves. Females lay the eggs on brush under the water, after which her job is done. In about a week, the eggs hatch into tadpoles and survive off a diet that consists of algae and detritus. By the time summer comes, the tadpoles have grown legs and leave the water to live on land.

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    The IUCN Redlist of Endangered Species lists the Spring Peeper as of "least concern" because large numbers of the frogs exist in the wild. The main threat Spring Peepers face is habitat loss. The species can adjust to some environmental changes, but they cannot live in urban environments. Regardless of the threat of habitat loss, the IUCN categorizes Spring Peepers as "least concern" because the species is not facing the threat of habitat loss on a world wide scale.

Additional Info
Additional Info