Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science [Volume 111 (2018)]
Current Distribution of Crawfish Frogs in Southernmost Illinois
Author: John G. Palis (111-01MS2156)
Crawfish Frogs (Rana areolata [Lithobates areolatus]) are secretive, fossorial anurans that inhabit crawfish burrows in grass-dominated habitats. They are of conservation concern throughout their range, especially east of the Mississippi River. Crawfish Frogs occur throughout much of the southern half of Illinois where many county occurrence records are decades old and where their current conservation status requires confirmation. I surveyed for the presence of Crawfish Frogs from 2006-2017 to estimate their current distribution in the 11 southernmost counties of Illinois. I detected Crawfish Frogs at 187 locations in 10 counties. Despite extensive habitat loss, Crawfish Frogs are currently widely distributed across southernmost Illinois and appear to be secure at this time. However, ongoing habitat alterations threaten the future of Crawfish Frog populations in the region; therefore, I encourage prompt, proactive conservation efforts while Crawfish Frogs are still relatively common.