This little Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) was attracted to Birdgirl’s mothing sheet on the warm weekend. It shows the distinctive X marking on its back that makes Peepers easy to identify. You can also see the slightly enlarged sticky toe pads that allow these treefrogs to climb trees and shrubs. They are terrestrial except during breeding season, when they use both temporary and permanent ponds, especially in wooded areas, for mating. After the breeding season, they move to woodlands, shrubby areas and old fields. Peepers survive the winter, when they hide under logs, bark or litter, by producing a glucose “antifreeze” that causes ice to form in extracellular spaces instead of in body cells. Their diet includes small bugs such as spiders, mites, ants beetles and caterpillars.
Spring Peepers are a common species throughout the Great Lakes region. Adults migrate to breeding ponds about the same time as Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica). The call of the male Peeper is the loud peeping for which they are named. This year at Willow House, the first calls of both Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs were heard on April 3rd.