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Spring Peeper
Pseudacris crucifer
(click images to enlarge)

Pseudacris crucifer - Spring Peeper
Appearance: This is a very small, delicate treefrog, measuring only about 2.5 cm. (1 in.) in length.  It is easily identified by the presence of an "X" on the dorsum.  The ground color can vary from dull gray or tan to bright brick red or pink. The southern subspecies can be distinguished from the northern species by virtue of its darkly speckled venter.

Pseudacris crucifer - Spring PeeperHabits and Habitat: Forests and regenerating woodlands near ephemeral or semi-permanent wetlands. In the northern reaches of their range Spring Peepers must frequently endure occasional periods of subfreezing temperatures during the breeding season, and this species is tolerant of freezing of some of its body fluids. This treefrog frequently occurs in breeding aggregations of several hundred individuals, and commonly breeds in many small wetlands, including swamps, temporary pools and disturbed habitats such as farm ponds and borrow pits.

Pseudacris crucifer - Spring PeeperVocalization: True to its name, the spring peeper has a call similar to that of a young chicken, only much louder and rising slightly in tone. Peepers will call from the edges of the bodies of water in which they breed, hidden near the bases of shrubs or grasses.  Even when calling, these little frogs are extremely difficult to locate, and are most easily seen when in amplexus in the shallows.  As in many frogs, an aggressive call is made when densities are high.  This call is a rising trill closely resembling the breeding call of the Southern Chorus Frog (Pseudacris nigrita nigrita). Typical call: Pseudacris crucifer - typical call Aggression call: Pseudacris crucifer - aggression call

Pseudacris crucifer - Spring PeeperReproduction/Egg Description: In the warmer reaches of the south, both subspecies of Spring Peeper would be more accurately known as winter peepers, as they call and breed during the cool, wet winter months.  Spring Peepers lay their small eggs singly in the vegetation along the edges of their breeding pools.

Distribution and Abundance: The Southern Spring Peeper occurs only in southeastern Georgia and northern Florida, but its northern conspecific occurs in the entire United States East of the Mississippi.  This is a common frog in areas where appropriate habitat is available.

SE ARMI Index Sites: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (Pseudacris crucifer bartramiana, Southern Spring Peeper), Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Pseudacris crucifer crucifer, Northern Spring Peeper).



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