Field Study of Kansas Ant-Eating Frog

The ant-eating frog is one of the smallest species of vertebrates on the University of Kansas Natural History Reservation, but individually it is one of the most numerous. The species is important in the over-all ecology; its biomass often exceeds that of larger species of vertebrates. Because of secretive and subterranean habits, however, its abundance and effects on community associates are largely obscured.

The Reservation, where my field study was made, is the most northeastern section in Douglas County, Kansas, and is approximately 5½ miles north and 2½ miles east of the University campus at Lawrence. The locality represents one of the northernmost occurrences of the species, genus, and family. The family Microhylidae is a large one, and most of its representatives are specialized for a subterranean existence and a diet of termites or ants. The many subfamilies of microhylids all have distributions centering in the regions bordering the Indian Ocean, from South Africa and Madagascar to the East Indies, New Guinea, and Australia (Parker, 1934). Only one subfamily, the Microhylinae, is represented in the New World, where it has some 17 genera (de Carvalho, 1954) nearly all of which are tropical. _G. olivacea_, extending north into extreme southern Nebraska (Loomis, 1945: 211), ranges farther north than any other American species. In the Old World only _Kaloula borealis_ has a comparable northward distribution. Occurring in the vicinity of Peiping (Pope, 1931: 587), it reaches approximately the same latitude as does _Gastrophryne_ in Nebraska. The great majority of microhylid genera and species are confined to the tropics.

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