Species limits and phylogeography of North American cricket frogs (Acris: Hylidae)

Tony Gamble, Peter B. Berendzen, H. Bradley Shaffer, David E. Starkey, Andrew M. Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Cricket frogs are widely distributed across the eastern United States and two species, the northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) and the southern cricket frog (A. gryllus) are currently recognized. We generated a phylogenetic hypothesis for Acris using fragments of nuclear and mitochondrial genes in separate and combined phylogenetic analyses. We also used distance methods and fixation indices to evaluate species limits within the genus and the validity of currently recognized subspecies of A. crepitans. The distributions of existing A. crepitans subspecies, defined by morphology and call types, do not match the distributions of evolutionary lineages recovered using our genetic data. We discuss a scenario of call evolution to explain this disparity. We also recovered distinct phylogeographic groups within A. crepitans and A. gryllus that are congruent with other codistributed taxa. Under a lineage-based species concept, we recognize Acris blanchardi as a distinct species. The importance of this revised taxonomy is discussed in light of the dramatic declines in A. blanchardi across the northern and western portions of its range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-125
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank A. Chase, K. Dahl, and N. Weinstein for help in the laboratory. J. Caldwell, J.J.D. Egge, J. Gerholdt, B. Hay, L. Irwin, J. Jensen, M. Lanoo, J. LeClere, R. Lehtinen, Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science Collection of Genetic Resources, J. MacGregor, R. McInnes, B. Metts, J. Moriarty, E. Moriarty-Lemmon, B. Nagle, J. Parmelee, J. Pramuk, C. Philips, L. Rissler, and J. Simmons generously provided specimens. Funding was provided by a grant to AMS by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota; Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota; the National Science Foundation; and the UC Davis Agriculture Experiment Station.

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Acris
  • Amphibian decline
  • Cryptic species
  • Mitochondrial gene
  • Nuclear gene
  • Phylogeography
  • Species delimitation


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