Species of the Week: The Spring Peeper

This week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is Ontario’s smallest, but loudest, frog. Spring Peepers are under 4 cm in length, a bit smaller than other chorus frogs. The Latin name, Pseudacris crucifer, means cross-bearer and refers to their distinctive X-shaped mark on the back. The Spring Peeper is rarely seen but often heard in the spring. Living in marshes, ponds, and swamps, Spring Peepers emerge from hibernation and start calling shortly after the ice melts. Male peepers have a vocal sac near the throat that expands and deflates like a balloon to make their characteristic peeping call. This call is used to attract a mate. The male will call 15-25 times per minute, and the females select a mate based on the speed and volume of the calls. These calls can be as loud as 90 decibels, which is about as loud as a motorcycle from 25 feet away. Some males, called ‘satellite males’, don’t make calls themselves, but instead position themselves near the loudest males. They will then attempt to intercept females attracted by these loud calls. Peepers call during their breeding season, from March to early June. Males sometimes also call on warm fall days. Have you heard these loud frogs yet this spring?

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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