Microhabitat Affinity of Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi) in Rural and Urban Areas in Central Texas
Spontak, Dana M.
Habitats of small anurans are being encroached upon by land development in central Texas. Blanchard’s cricket frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi) is a small frog occupying small streams in these areas of disturbance. I investigated microhabitat affinity of Blanchard’s cricket frog to assess whether differences exist between urban and rural areas of central Texas. That is, I examined whether cricket frogs altered their use of microhabitats when in urban environments compared to rural. Vegetative and substrate characteristics and moisture profiles of microhabitats were quantitatively assessed and categorized using line intercept and quadrat methods. Morphological data were analyzed by principal component analysis to depict associations of morphological characteristics to microhabitat association. I collected 424 Acris crepitans blanchardi from May to December 2008 in 12 rural and 12 urban habitats along Barton Creek and Onion Creek watersheds. Chi-square goodness of fit test indicated microhabitat affinity by cricket frogs was influenced by moisture level and substrate type. There was no difference in the distribution of cricket frogs between urban and rural environments. Analyses of morphological characteristics by PCA indicated larger cricket frogs associated with areas of dense vegetation in the more and rural locations. I did not find that the current level of human-induced disturbance has affected micro-habitat use by Blanchard’s cricket frogs; however, I would suggest a good management practice would be the establishment of a buffer zone in association with riparian habitats in central Texas.
northern cricket frog, frogs, niche, habitats, ecology
Spontak, D. M. (2009). Microhabitat affinity of Blanchard's cricket frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi) in rural and urban areas in central Texas (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.