chapter  2
10 Pages

Who Are You?

ByMichael J. Lannoo, Rochelle M. Stiles

Crawfish Frogs are “true frogs,” members of the anuran family Ranidae. All frogs in Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas, and Louisiana are considered the more ancestral Southern Crawfish Frogs. All frogs to the north of this line west of the Mississippi River, as well as all frogs east of the Mississippi River, are recognized as the derived Northern Crawfish Frogs. Examining the map of Crawfish Frog distribution and taking into account climate and vegetation, it appears that Crawfish Frogs are limited to the south by the Gulf of Mexico, to the west by the arid Plains, to the north by extreme winter cold, and to the east by the dense summer shade of the Eastern Deciduous Forest. The debate surrounding Crawfish Frog/Gopher Frog scientific names was repeated for their common names, which scientists also standardize. Francis Harper tackled the issue of common names and in the process coupled the common name “Crawfish Frog” to the scientific taxa “areolata”.