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27 June 2012 Terrestrial Movements and Habitat Preferences of Male Cricket Frogs on a Golf Course
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Northern Cricket Frogs, Acris crepitans, are experiencing population declines throughout their range for unknown reasons. Habitat alteration is one potential explanation, so evaluating habitat use and movement of Cricket Frogs could be valuable to protect and manage this species. To understand how altered landscapes influence Cricket Frog movements, we initiated a study at a golf course to assess the dispersal of adults on a variety of terrestrial habitat types (mown grass, unmown grass, or the ecotone between mown and unmown grass) released at different distances from a single pond (10, 20, or 40 m). We monitored movements of adult male frogs by marking individuals with fluorescent powder. Distance from the pond did not appear to affect movement or orientation toward the pond. However, Cricket Frog movement was significantly affected by habitat type. Cricket Frogs produced longer paths in unmown grass and were more likely to orient toward the pond than frogs released at the ecotone, which may be beneficial during dispersal events. Frogs released in both unmown and mown grass moved in straighter paths than frogs released at the ecotone between these habitats, suggesting that, when given the choice, both habitat types are used to potentially optimize travel, foraging, and/or avoiding predation. Our research suggests that while managed green spaces may provide suitable habitat for connecting pond-breeding amphibians, habitat with more structure (i.e., unmown grass) may offer Cricket Frogs the greatest benefits.
2012 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Edward A. Ramirez, Holly J. Puglis, Alicia Ritzenthaler and Michelle Boone "Terrestrial Movements and Habitat Preferences of Male Cricket Frogs on a Golf Course," Copeia 2012(2), (27 June 2012).
Received: 6 June 2011; Accepted: 1 January 2012; Published: 27 June 2012

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