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Science Snippets: Spring Peepers and Pinkletinks

Listen! Do you hear the frog chorus?

The Spring Peepers continue to herald the arrival of spring. Their lively trill is always music to my ears after the colder winter months, and it's something I look forward to every year.

Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) are small, nocturnal 'chorus' frogs that live in the eastern United States and Canada. Obviously, they are called Spring Peepers because they begin peeping, singing, and chirping when the weather becomes warmer. In fact, they are usually the first frogs in each region to 'call in' the spring as temperatures rise. They might even be considered the seasonal amphibian equivalent to robins!

Although Spring Peepers are found all over the U.S. and Canada, there are two distinct subspecies. The northern (P. c. crucifer) and the southern (P.c bartramiana).

Northern Spring Peepers are mostly tan, brown, grey, or olive green. An 'X' of dark lines on their backs is an identifying mark. They are found in states east of the Mississippi River, northern states, and even in parts of eastern and central Canada. Some regions in the north call these small frogs, Pinkletinks!

The southern Spring Peeper is found along the Gulf Coast from southeastern Texas to northern Florida and southern Georgia. It has a dark mark on its belly that differentiates it from the Northern subspecies.

Spring Peepers (or Pinkletinks) are tiny little creatures, growing only to a length of about 1.5 inches. But together, they create a great BIG sound.

The next time you are out and about in the evening, tune your ears to the trill and chorus of the Spring Peepers. Sweet music, indeed!

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