Northern Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Chances are you will hear this frog long before you see it. These small frogs begin calling almost as soon as the ice melts in early February and continue to call into May. They are small with a snout-vent length that ranges from 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches and are extremely difficult to locate. The X-shaped mark on their backs is distinctive and make it possible to distinguish peepers from other small frogs. On warm rainy nights in early spring males move to breeding sites and begin calling. The male has a single vocal pouch that is expanded when calling. The chorus of these frogs can be deafening and carries for a considerable distance. Note the rounded toe pads on the male on the right. These are used to climb the vegetation from which the males call. The eggs develop rapidly into small tadpoles with a characteristic X on their backs. The tadpoles shown below have well developed hind limbs but the fore limbs have not yet fully developed. Once the fore limbs are developed the tail will start to get shorter. Young frogs can be seen on the edge of ponds in early June before their tail is totally reabsorbed. They will soon move away from the pond and into moist wooded areas or wet meadows. Here they will spend most of their time under leaves and other debris, but they will return in the following spring to mate and lay eggs.