Frog Call Surveys in an Urban Wetland Complex, the Hackensack Meadowlands, New Jersey, in 2006

by Erik Kiviat

Hudsonia Ltd., P.O. Box 5000 / 30 Campus Rd., Annandale, New York 12504


In many areas of the world, frogs are affected by multiple environmental stresses. Therefore, the presence or absence of frogs may serve as an indicator of the quality of urban environments. On three occasions in spring 2006, I surveyed calling frogs for three-hour periods at each of two sites in the Hackensack Meadowlands just outside New York City in northeastern New Jersey, USA. I detected small choruses of a single species, southern leopard frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius [Rana sphenocephala utricularia]), at multiple wetland and pond locations within each site. The occurrence of populations of this species in the Meadowlands is noteworthy because it is rare or disappearing in nearby regions. The tolerance of the southern leopard frog for slightly brackish water and its need for only small areas of adjoining upland habitat may enable it to survive in a coastal urban environment. The absence or scarcity of other frog species may be a result of unsuitability of the habitat, or fragmentation may prevent them from recolonizing following extirpation due to historic land use and hydrological alteration in the Meadowlands.

Keywords: Amphibia, monitoring, southern leopard frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius), urban biodiversity, water quality, wetlands, Hackensack Meadowlands, Anura.