SPRING PEEPER
Pseudacris crucifer (Wied-Neuwied 1838)
sū-dā'-krĭs — kroo-sə-fər


Conservation Status:

State: Kansas Species in Need of Conservation (SINC)

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S3 - Vulnerable
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

An adult Spring Peeper from Cherokee County, KS. Image © Jacob Basler.
An adult Spring Peeper from Cherokee County, Kansas. Image © Dan Fogell.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.
A tadpole of Pseudacris crucifer. Image © Altig et al. (2006).

Description:
Tan, brown, gray, yellow or olive. Range from light tan to dark brown, able to change skin color within this range in fifteen minutes. Underneath white, vocal sac greenish. Most have an X-shaped dark mark on the back. Have little webbing on feet, rounded large discs on toes. Head short and wide with bluntly pointed snout. Dorsal skin smooth, ventral skin coarsely granular, slender legs and toes.
Adults normally 19-32 mm (¾- 1¼ inches) in SVL. Females are larger than males. ; largest Kansas specimen: female (KU 186100) from Cherokee County with SVL of 30 mm (1¼ inches) collected by Chris Stammler and Dan Hodges on 30 July 1980; maximum length throughout the range: 1½ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
In Kansas, this species is confined to the eastern border south of Johnson County. During spring chorusing it can be found calling from ditches, ponds, and vernal pools associated with riparian corridors.
(, Museum Voucher) (, Observation) (, Literature Record)
Open icons are questionable records; Click on a marker to view details. Export Google Earth (.kml)
  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 249
    Records 
  • 126
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 123
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Atchison (1); Bourbon (35); Cherokee (121); Crawford (14); Johnson (4); Leavenworth (1); Linn (26); Miami (46); Unknown (1);

Natural History:
This is the first frog heard in Kansas each year. Males gather at small ephemeral pools by the hundreds following rains from February to April and begin calling (a short, repeated, high-pitched ‘peep’) in the hope of attracting mates.

Occurrence Activity:
The blue dates denote chorusing actity. The red dates are other occurrences. The darker a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Chorusing:

Audio recording by Keith Coleman.

Chorusing Phenology: The black outlined dots denote the Julian date (day of the year; 1 January = 1 to 31 December = 365) an observation was made. The thin red line depicts the range of dates between the beginning of the first, and end of the fourth quartile (excluding outliers; Tukey method). The thick light blue bar represents the second and third quartile (interquartile range; the middle 50% of all observations). Only one observation per Julian date is included in the graphs; so a date with multiple observations carries the same weight as a date with only one observation. The vertical bars correspond to the 12 months of the year; January through December.
# Unique Obervations: 146; Range: 07 Jan to 27 May; Interquartile range: 25 Feb to 07 Apr;

Observation Type: (of recorded types)
Remarks:
Rundquist (1977) summarized the available information on this species in Kansas. At that time there were ~42 specimens known from only four counties. Later that same year, Rundquist and Collins (1977) added two more specimens. Collins (1982) extensively surveyed the Ozark Plateau in Kansas, resulting in the discovery of seven localities. He suggested at that time that this taxon be designated as state Endangered Species. Anderson and Arruda (1996, 2006) recorded populations in Bourbon and Crawford counties for the first time. Coleman (2010) documented populations in Johnson County. Reliable reports of calling Spring Peepers from northeastern Allen County have been received; however, these are as yet unsubstantiated.
The Spring Peeper was first recorded (collected 22 April 1833) in Kansas by the German explorer and naturalist Prince Maximilian Alexander Philipp of Wied. Wied spent time studying the plains flora, fauna, and indigenous peoples. He traveled within the US from 1832 through 1834. In 1838 he described the Spring Peeper (from "Cantonment Leavenworth"). Though it is currently not known within 40 miles of the type locality or even across the state line into Missouri. However, Simon (1988) reported 5-10 calling males from a site 3 miles south of Atchison in Atchison County (~ 15 miles northwest of the Weid's type locality). Subsequent surveys in Atchison County, have failed to produce any more observations or specimens from this putative population.
Rundquist (1979) questioned whether the specimen may have come from further east as Wied moved up the Missouri River. However, in his account (p. 275) Weid makes clear that the specimen was collected soon after reaching the "dies der Landungsplatz des Cantonment Leavenworth, eines Militärpostens, (= landing place of the Cantonment Leavenworth, a military post,)"
Based on Wied's published description, there is little doubt that his specimen was, in fact, an adult male Spring Peeper.
The species was not reported again in Kansas until 1927 (KU 55478), which is the earliest extant record.
Anderson and Arruda (1996) reported on newly discovered localities for this taxon in Bourbon County. Their work led to the discovery of several additional sites in Bourbon and Crawford counties.
Spring Peeper populations have a strong foothold in the state, and appears to be expanding.
The Spring Peeper was listed as a Kansas Threatened species in 1987 and downlisted to SINC in 2015.

Bibliography:
1838 Wied-Neuwied, Maximilian Prinz zu. Reise in das innere Nord-America in den Jahren 1832 bis 1834, Band 1 J. Hoelscher, Koblenz. 653pp.
1922 Loding, H. P. A preliminary catalogue of Alabama amphibians and reptiles. Geological Survey of Alabama, Museum Paper (5):59
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
1933 Stejneger, Leonhard and Thomas Barbour. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp.
1934 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 15(4):377-527
1939 Harper, Francis A southern subspecies of the Spring Peeper (Hyla crucifer). Notulae Naturae 27():1-4
1941 Mansueti, R. A descriptive catalogue of the amphibians and reptiles found in and around Baltimore City, Maryland, within a radius of twenty miles. Proceedings of the Natural History Society of Maryland 7():1-53
1946 Smith, Hobart M. The systematic status of Eumeces pluvialis Cope, a noteworthy records of other amphibians and reptiles from Kansas and Oklahoma. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 1(2):85-89
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
1953 Schmidt, Karl P. A Check List of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 6th Edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois. 280pp.
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
1974 Johnson, Tom R. Rare and endangered herpetofauna of Kansas. St. Louis Herpetological Society Newsletter 1(10):4-5
1974 Karns, Daryl, Ray E. Ashton, Jr., and Thomas Swearingen. Illustrated Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: An Identification Manual. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History Public Education Series(2):viii + 18
1974 Platt, Dwight R., Joseph T. Collins, and Ray E. Ashton, Jr. Rare, endangered and extirpated species in Kansas. II. Amphibians and reptiles. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 76():185-192
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. The Spring Peeper, Hyla crucifer Wied (Anura, Hylidae) in Kansas Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 80(3 & 4):155-8
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1978 Curl, Richard L. Final Environmental Statement: Milford Lake Kansas operation and maintenance. US Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District. 158pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of three amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 57pp.
1983 Loraine, Raymond K. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of two amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Contract 76.  ():56
1984 Loraine, Raymond K. Life history notes: Hyla crucifer crucifer. Herpetological Review 15():16-17
1984 Ptacek, Margaret B. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the Reproductive Ecology and Habitat Analysis of the Northern Spring Peeper, Hyla c. crucifer, in Southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 83pp.
1984 Ptacek, Margaret S. Reproductive Ecology and Habitat Analysis of the Northern Spring Peeper (Hyla c. crucifer) in Southeastern Kansas. Thesis. Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. 84pp.
1985 Ptacek, Margaret B. Population status of the Northern Spring Peeper (Hyla crucifer crucifer) in Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (61):12-14
1985 Schulenberg-Ptacek, Margaret. Reproductive ecology and habitat analysis of the Northern Spring Peeper (Hyla crucifer crucifer) in Cherokee County, Kansas. Thesis. Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas.. 75pp.
1986 Layher, William G., Ken L. Brunson, J.Schaefer, Marvin D. Schwilling, and R. D. Wood. Summary of nongame task force actions relative to developing three species lists: Species in Need of Conservation, Threatened, and Endangered. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. pp.
1988 Busby, William H. The Kansas Natural Heritage Program: Taking stock of Kansas' natural heritage. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):9-12
1988 Simon, Martin P. Report on the status of selected amphibian species of special interest in northeastern Kansas Privately printed, . 12pp.
1988 Simon, Martin P. Report on the status of selected amphibian species of special interest in northeastern Kansas. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. 11pp.
1988 Spanbauer, Mary K. Little Balkans. Kansas Wildlife and Parks (45(4)):42896
1989 Capron, Marty. Threatened and endangered: A critique of the Kansas list. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (76):14-15
1989 Simmons, John E. Endangered and threatened in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (75):4-5
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1991 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1990. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (83):7-13
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas endangered, threatened, and SINC species. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. 1994 Field Trip Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (95):3-4
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1995 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the seventh annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (101):11-17
1996 Anderson, Lewis R. and Joseph A. Arruda. Land use and anuran biodiversity in southeast Kansas. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt, Kansas. 37pp.
1996 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1995. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (103):13-15
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1996 Shoup, J. M. Treefrogs, indeed! Kansas Wildlife and Parks (53(4)):34
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
2001 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 2000. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (124):6-8
2002 Austin, James D., Stephen C. Lougheed, Lindsay Neidrauer, Andrew A. Chek, and Peter T. Boag. Cryptic lineages in a small frog: The post-glacial history of the spring peeper, Pseudacris crucifer (Anura: Hylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 25():316-329
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2006 Altig, Ronald, Roy W. McDiarmid, Kimberly A. Nichols, and Paul C. Ustach Tadpoles of the United States and Canada: A Tutorial and Key Electronic files accessible at http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/tadpole/. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, USA. ():
2006 Anderson, Lewis R. and Joseph A. Arruda. Land use and anuran biodiversity in southeast Kansas, USA. Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 4(1):46-59
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2007 Taggart, Travis W. Brief herpetological history of Pigeon Lake. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (22):6
2008 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2008 spring field trip. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (25):2-3
2010 Coleman, Keith. Geographic Distribution: Pseudacris crucifer, Kansas.  Journal of Kansas Herpetology (35):10
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2012 Spring Field Trip to Bourbon County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):3
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
2015 Rohweder, Megan R. Kansas Wildlife Action Plan. Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in cooperation with the Kansas Biological Survey. 176pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Rader, Jennifer. Early chorusing activity for some Kansas anurans. Collinsorum 6(1):16
2017 Snyder, Ariel Survey Of Anuran Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in Kansas and the Influence of Anuran Life History in Occurrence. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 53pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2020 Rader, Jennifer. Southeast Kansas Nature Center. Kansas Wildlife and Parks Magazine July-August():38-41
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
Account Last Updated:
7/29/2020 1:12:23 PM