Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Frog Explosion

Yesterday was an extremely nice day, with temps in the mid 60s, a light breeze, skies sunny & clear. The air was just balmy, and it stayed that way late into the night. It aparently felt like spring not only to humans, but to the entire frog population of our swamp. Last night we were treated to quite the chorus! I'm not certain exactly what kind of frogs we have, but at least some of them must be pacific tree frogs, who you can hear singing at this link.

Spring is coming! :)

9:45 Update: I looked up a bit more info about the Pacific Treefrog while waiting for the east coasters I work with to finish their lunches, and found some interesting facts I thought I would add here.

For one thing, it's a famous movie star. This is becuase it is the most commonly heard frog in California, and its call is known throughout the world because of its extensive use as a nighttime background sound in Hollywood movies (even those set in areas well outside the range of this frog, which is pretty much restricted to the west coast of N. America).

It comes in a wide variety of colors: green, tan, brown, gray, reddish, cream. Most often it is green or brown. It can have stripes, spots, and dark or light patches, and sometimes yellow on the legs and belly. So what looks like many different kinds of frogs in one pond may actually all be pacific treefrogs.

Except Pacific Treefrogs are not really tree frogs at all, they're actually a Chorus Frog. But...
"We (actually the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, the Herpetologists' League, and the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists) have decided it best to call our local loud mouths, the Pacific Treefrog, Pseudacris regilla. So, we're going to acknowledge that the species is not a treefrog, it's a chorus frog. But, we're going to concede that the vernacular doesn't have to be an accurate reflection of phylogeny and go with the traditional, well-recognized name, Pacific Treefrog."

-Kelly McAllister, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
They don't live in trees, although they may climb up on them to sing, pose for pictures, or to hunt for food. They are chiefly ground-dwellers, living among shrubs and grass near water. They have large toe pads allow them to climb easily, and cling to twigs or grass - they can even climb up vertical glass!

Such cool little frogs, I'm glad I took the time to check them out. :)

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