Partisan Frog Fight Over Official State Amphibian in Michigan

Partisan bickering has taken a warty turn in the Michigan House.

Upon discovering that the Great Lakes State is one of the few that lack an official state amphibian, lawmakers rushed to fill the oversight. Republicans entertained a variety of choices, but in the end, only two made the cut.

Sorry Gov. Snyder — you’re not on the short list of GOP candidates.

Snyder snorkeling

The Republican nominees are instead: Blanchard’s Cricket Frog — supported by Rep. Matt Lori (R-59) with HB-5449, and the Eastern Gray Tree Frog — endorsed by Rep. Pat Somerville (R-23) with his proposed legislation, HB-4747.

Rep. Sam Singh (D-69) nominated a populist favorite, the Northern Spring Peeper with HB-5577.

A Run Down of the Michigan Frog Ballot (voting at the end)

cricket frogBlanchard’s Cricket Frog (R), aka Acris crepitans blanchardi, is known for its warty-appearing skin. Despite a slight resemblance, it is not named after Michigan’s former governor, James Blanchard, but instead in honor of Frank N. Blanchard, a noted American herpetologist (person who studies amphibians and reptiles, not herpes). Blanchard’s Cricket Frog is considered threatened/endangered in blanchardMichigan.

Next is the Eastern Gray Tree Frog (R), alias the hyla versicolor. While its scientific name may eastern gray tree frogsound like a 1960’s television feature, it actually refers to the frog’s chameleon-like trait of being able to change colors from gray to green so it can’t be seen. Much like its Republican challenger, they are known for their warty skin. Primarily arboreal, they rarely descend from their lofty perches. The females are larger than the males, however it is only the male that croaks.

Our Democratic candidate, commonly known as Northern Spring Peeper (D), seldom uses its scientific moniker, Pseudacris crucifer, as it prefers to be a frog’s kind of frog — being more comfortable with its regional names: Pinkletinks, Tinkletoes, and Pink-winks. A social creature, the Peeper likes to congregate and vocalize as a group using their large inflatable vocal sacs, perhaps as a compensatory measure for the unfortunately placed X on their mottled backs.


The frog debate in the Michigan House is good-natured, and meant to be an educational exercise for Michigan students, but if you wish to vote for your preferred candidate, you may do so at MLive by clicking here.


DSCN0444Amy Kerr Hardin

Listen to the Peepers stump speech here.

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One Response to Partisan Frog Fight Over Official State Amphibian in Michigan

  1. Robert Flisher says:

    It’s a unique species of frog. The only tree frog in Michigan. They also inspired my son to become a herpetologist when he grows up.

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