After half century, endangered cricket frogs return | Local

After more than half a century, an endangered frog is back in western Wisconsin.

The state Department of Natural Resources this summer recorded the distinct call of the Blanchard’s cricket frog in Trempealeau County, where it was last documented in 1965. Cricket frogs were also discovered in La Crosse and Buffalo counties, where they have not been found since the 1980s.


The Blanchard’s cricket frog is typically 1/2 to 1.5 inches long.

Officially known as acris blanchardi, the frogs — which are about the size of a human thumb — were once found throughout southern Wisconsin, but over the last half of the 20th century populations plummeted, and it is now the state’s only endangered amphibian.

By the early 1990s, there were “only had a handful of populations left” in the far southwestern corner of the state, said DNR conservation biologist Andrew Badje. The reasons are unclear, though Wisconsin has always been the northern limit of the Blanchar’s range.

“It could be disease,” Badje said. “It could be habitat change or wetland loss, weather fluctuations.”

In 2015 one of dozens of DNR volunteers who do frog surveys said he thought he heard the unique mating call — which sounds like steel balls clicking together…

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