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CRAWFISH FROG } Rana areolata

RANGE: From Texas to Mississippi in the south and from Indiana west to Nebraska in the north, though the species is believed to be extirpated from much of its northern range

STATUS: The crawfish frog is identified as Near Threatened by the World Conservation Union.

THREATS: Habitat loss due to drainage of breeding habitat as well as urban and agricultural development, fish-stocking

Unlike most frogs in its range, the crawfish frog isn’t often found lounging by the water’s edge, unless it’s breeding season. This frog prefers to hide in the terrestrial burrows of crayfish, which also make up most of its diet — though the species will eat almost any critter it can overpower, from arthropods to smaller frogs. During breeding season, from late winter to mid-spring, females lay up to 7,000 eggs, which hatch into tadpoles that can take more than two years to morph into adults. Crawfish frogs will travel long distances to reach the fishless temporary ponds they need for breeding — which are increasingly hard to come by. The IUCN Red List states that crawfish frogs are probably in significant decline because of widespread habitat loss, mostly from the drainage of breeding ponds.

Photo © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH