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Capturing Methods For The Northern Cricket Frog

1543 words - 6 pages

Introduction
Amphibians are significant in ecological communities and may also be sensitive indicators of environmental change despite their cryptic and secretive habits (Grant et al. 1992). Northern cricket frogs (Acris crepitans) typically range from 1.6 to 3.5cm in length, having various colors and patterns with a wart-like texture. Although they have long hind legs, they do not climb well, nor are they found high in trees. The northern cricket frog call is described as rapid clicking of marbles together. Three capturing methods have been found and used on the northern cricket frog. The three capturing methods are cover board refugia, funnel traps, and pitfall traps.
The first method is the use of cover board refugia. Tin and wooden cover boards, as described by Grant et al. (1992), are the most commonly used materials. The second method typically used to capture the northern cricket frog is a pitfall trap. Pitfall traps used on the northern cricket frog are typically live traps because they are an endangered species, with variations in size and material depending on the type of study being done. They may also be used with drift fences to increase the chances of capture (Figure 1). Drift fences are commonly made of aluminum flashing that is buried about 10cm in the ground. The final capture method is funnel trap usage. Like pitfall traps, funnel traps may be used in addition to drift fences to increase trap effectiveness. Given that each study is different (i.e. location, climate, etc.), modifications and improvements have been designed to enhance trap effectiveness. There are many designs, types, and sizes of pitfall traps, funnel traps and drift-fences, all of which have been proposed and tested (Bruce and Corn 1987).
With regard to the target species, climate, location and other environmental factors, each capture method has various advantages and disadvantages (Table 1).
Various Modifications
Modifications to capturing methods are occasionally required for successful trapping. The first pitfall trap that was found was used by Megak and Guynn from 1987. The standard pitfall trap used was either an 18.9 or 19-liter bucket (Mengak and Guynn 1987, Homyack and Giuliano 2002) that was buried 8 to 12cm in the ground. Homyack and Giuliano (2002) modified the trap by adding an elevated bucket lid for shade and protection from predation. During warm months, Todd et al. (2007) placed sponges in the bottom of buckets to prevent animals from desiccating or drowning. Pitfalls may be transformed into lethal traps by placing puncture devices in the bottoms of buckets. They may also become lethal traps for some species when the bucket is filled half way with water.
Funnel traps are produced from strong wire caging, which typically contain a single-end. However, funnel traps may be modified into a double-ended trap. Fitch (1951) created a model made from hardware cloth wire with one-eighth inch mesh....

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