Posts Tagged 'frogs'

Herps

We were hoping this Northern Watersnake would keep coming, passing under the boat launch dock we were standing on.But this Nerodia sipedon wasn’t playing. Instead it took shelter in these rocks, amid crabs, oysters, and periwinkles, peeping out occasionally to see if we were still there. Can you spot it?Here’s what we thought was a big Ratsnake (Pantheropphis obsoletus) soaking up the rays off the path. The cloudy eyes means this one is getting ready to shed.As you can see from the duckweed and young damselfly, these Acris genus cricket frogs are small, around an inch or so from bow to stern.But they pack a big voice. May not have noticed them if not for that, and the splashing.Tried to get a picture of their throats extending like pale balloons as they called, but no such luck.

All in southeastern Virginia.

Wood Frogs


A year ago on April 1st, 2018, we heard Wood Frogs and saw their spawn floating here. It takes about a week for their eggs to rise up from below, where they’re laid. This year, on March 30th, we heard the frogs and saw them both mating and egg-laying for the first time. Male Wood Frogs sound like a bit like ducks as they announce their presence. Half a dozen of them can produce a helluva sound.The females are notably larger and redder than the males. You might think they were a different species if you saw them on their own.We didn’t see any on their own. This is amplexus, Latin for “embrace,” the amphibian mating stance.The females are full of eggs — the black spheres seen under water in some of these images — lots and lots of eggs. She can spawn a 1000 at a go.

More Spring

Red maple flowers. Eastern Phoebe.These are wind pollinated trees, so early spring emergence isn’t predicated on insects.An early arriving migrant, this bird is dependent on insects.Speaking of which, beetles and flies are emerging.A millipede in a leafy liverwort. Interesting similarity of shape…And here’s a frog-sex teaser. There’s some amplexus in the water…

Recent Sightings

A President under investigation shouldn’t be allowed to appoint judges who will decide cases involving him. The Republican corruption of justice continues. And on top of that, this Kavanaugh character is already lying by saying “No president has ever consulted more widely or talked to more people from more backgrounds to seek input for a Supreme Court nomination.” We knows he doesn’t believe a sitting President can be indicted, and he starts by shamelessly sucking up to one who is extremely indictable.

Frog Songs

There were several species of frogs sounding off during the middle of the day yesterday at Great Swamp NWR. It was a… chorus… of several species. Lots of sounds I’ve never heard before. This one was the only amphibian actually seen out of the water; I’ve yet to find one of the peepers or chorus or tree frogs that sing out of the water. They blend in nicely. But meanwhile, in the water:

Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus, or Rana sylvatica in older sources) were the ones I definitely IDed. Some of their egg masses… just in time for the snow.

Bufo bufo

The Common Toad of Europe, I think. Vanlig padda in Sweden, where we found these two on a path near lake Krankesjön. Sweden has 13 species of amphibians (including two vattensalamander) and six species of reptiles.Being in the land o’ Linnaeus, we kept coming across the doubled binomial: Porzana porzana, Buteo buteo, Anser anser, Ciconia ciconia, Vanellus vanellus

Massing Toads

Can you see it?Everywhere, underfoot, tiny. We were in Beaverdam Park in Gloucester Co., VA, last week. It was fiendishly humid. We kept running into these very small toads that scurried more than jumped. At first I thought the movement was some kind of beetle. But no, they were toads. Upon further research, they turned out to be Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri). The American Toad (A. americanus) and the Fowler’s are somewhat similar looking and overlapping in range. They can be distinguished by the number of warts in the dark spots; American have 1-2; Fowler’s have 2 or more. Some of these Beaverdam juveniles were less than 3/4ths of an inch long.Here’s a mature adult, the only such seen, about 2.5″ long. (I used a flash here in the lovely gloom of the woods, which gives a warmer color to the skin.) And one more of the wee ones.

And continuing the theme of tiny amphibians. Parked along a country road in Virginia, we heard what we thought were sheep. But the sound was coming from the puddled ditches along both sides of the road. It turns out there is an Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis) that sounds like a bleating sheep. They’re microhylid frogs from 1-1.5″ long and supposedly blend in very well with muck. We certainly didn’t see any, but the sound was fascinating.


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