Southern cricket frogs are disappearing in the Piedmont of North Carolina at an alarming rate. Their disappearance mirrors a national trend that shows dwindling populations of all amphibians including other frog species, toads and salamanders. They play an important ecological role by feeding on pests and other insects.
Jonathon Perry Micancin, a researcher and visiting lecturer in UNC-Chapel Hill's Biology Department, says it's not yet clear what's causing the decline, “but what we can definitely be certain about is that the southern cricket frog has disappeared from a really large area in the upper coastal plain in North Carolina, from Roanoke Rapids down to Rocky Mount and Wilson, down to Goldsboro, down to just southeast of Raleigh.”
Micancin and his colleagues have a few hypotheses that might explain the extinction of the southern cricket frog in those areas. They suspect one factor is likely the destruction of the frog's habitat due to residential development and road building. Scientists are also concerned about the effect on many other species, like birds and various plants that share the frogs’ habitat.