As Ontario’s wetlands disappear because of development, so too have Blanchard’s cricket frogs. Despite many searches, there hasn’t been a confirmed record of this species in Canada since the early 1970s.
A subspecies of the northern cricket frog, Blanchard’s cricket frog is the most aquatic type of tree frog in North America. Small enough to fit on a soup spoon, adults measure just 16 to 38 mm in length. They have a warty appearance, pointed snout and a V-shaped mark between the eyes. However, it’s the breeding call of the male that really sets them apart — a distinctive rasping noise that sounds like pebbles being rapidly clicked together.
Blanchard’s cricket frogs live along the edges of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and other bodies of water. In Ontario, they have been found in shoreline marshes, pools, lagoons, ditches, flooded fields and drainage canals used for agriculture. They tend to make their homes on muddy shores or in vegetation found in shallow water. In the winter, these frogs hibernate away from the water in holes or under rocks and logs.
Blanchard’s cricket frogs can still be found in large numbers in eastern and central United States. In Canada, this frog has only ever been found at Point Pelee and Pelee Island, in extreme southwestern Ontario. If they are still out there, populations may now only persist in Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve on the southern tip of Pelee Island.
Several natural factors have contributed to the decline of Blanchard’s cricket frogs, including predators such as birds, reptiles, bullfrogs and fish and storms that damage coastal marshes. Meanwhile, draining marshes and wetlands for development projects and dredging canals that the frogs use as breeding sites have also contributed to declines. Finally, the runoff of pesticides and fertilizers is believed to be another major factor.
Recommended Recovery Actions
The federal Recovery Strategy calls for surveys to determine whether the species is still present in its Canadian range, as well as whether there is enough habitat in Canada to support recovery efforts. If no individuals are found, the strategy recommends assessing the feasibility of reintroducing Blanchard’s cricket frogs.
What We Are Doing
Blanchard’s cricket frog is on Wildlife Preservation Canada’s priority list for potential future action. Find out how Wildlife Preservation Canada is currently saving other Canadian amphibians, such as Fowler’s toad and Oregon spotted frog, and how you can make a difference.
Federal Species at Risk Profile: Blanchard’s Cricket Frog