Using a variety of techniques, we tracked dispersing juvenile and migrating adult Crawfish Frogs (Lithobates areolatus) to determine how these movements produce the relatively high degree of interconnectivity we previously found among breeding wetlands at Hillenbrand Fish and Wildlife Area-West (HFWA-W) in southwestern Indiana. We found that newly metamorphosed juveniles disperse in all directions, with average daily movements between 27 m (2015) and 35 m (2011) and maximum daily movements of 114 m (2011) and 297 m (2015). When placed in artificial burrows, juveniles tended to abandon them in order to continue dispersing. Of the 196 juveniles produced at Nate's Pond and subsequently captured as breeding adults, 141 (71.9%) returned to Nate's; the remainder dispersed to five other breeding wetlands, including one that was 1.35 km away. Adults were also vagile. At Nate's, only 137 (50.6%) of the 271 adults that bred there from 2012-2016 were produced there. Further, of the 255 Crawfish Frog adults breeding at least twice, 57 (22.4%) were captured at different wetlands. As a component of a comprehensive management plan that considers juvenile Crawfish Frogs, we suggest minimizing summertime aboveground disturbance through the use of mowers, all-terrain vehicles, trucks, and heavy equipment. Plowed areas such as food plots should be narrow and placed in a radial pattern in relation to breeding wetlands to preclude juveniles crossing tangentially oriented areas of bare ground, which expose them to predators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science
- Animal Science and Zoology