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Landscape habitat associations of frogs and toads in Iowa and Wisconsin were tested to determine whether they support or refute previous general habitat classifications. We examined which Midwestern species shared similar habitats to see if these associations were consistent across large geographic areas (states). Rana sylvatica (wood frog), Hyla versicolor (eastern gray treefrog), Pseudacris crucifer (spring peeper), and Acris crepitans (cricket frog) were identified as forest species, P. triseriata (chorus frog), H. chrysoscelis (Cope's gray treefrog), R. pipiens (leopard frog), and Bufo americanus (American toad) as grassland species, and R. catesbeiana (bullfrog), R. clamitans (green frog), R. palustris (pickerel frog), and R. septentrionalis (mink frog) as lake or stream species. The best candidates to serve as bioindicators of habitat quality were the forest species R. sylvatica, H. versicolor, and P. crucifer, the grassland species R. pipiens and P. triseriata, and a cold water wetland species, R. palustris. Declines of P. crucifer, R. pipiens, and R. palustris populations in one or both states may reflect changes in habitat quality. Habitat and community associations of some species differed between states, indicating that these relationships may change across the range of a species. Acris crepitans may have shifted its habitat affinities from open habitats, recorded historically, to the more forested habitat associations we recorded. We suggest contaminants deserve more investigation regarding the abrupt and widespread declines of this species. Interspersion of different habitat types was positively associated with several species. A larger number of wetland patches may increase breeding opportunities and increase the probability of at least one site being suitable. We noted consistently negative associations between anuran species and urban development. Given the current trend of urban growth and increasing density of the human population, declines of amphibian populations are likely to continue.
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Landscape associations of frog and toad species in Iowa and Wisconsin, U.S.A