Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Bufo americanus’

Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota)

Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles. What an amazing group these critters are. Amphibians undergo an astounding transformation, growing from waterbabies into air-breathing creatures over the course of their life cycle. Reptiles include some of the most ancient of animal species. Some fascinate us, others repel us. All play an important role in their respective ecosystems.

Now there is a new blog carnival to celebrate herps and bring together interesting posts from the blogosphere in one handy location. Please visit the first carnival ever at House of Herps for encounters with some cool animals and great writers. There’s even an irreverent, but not irrelevant, clip from South Park.

American Toad (Bufo americanus)

View Ted’s (Beetles in the Bush) candidate for North America’s most beautiful lizard, the Eastern Collared Lizard that he photographed in Oklahoma. Admire Kenton and Rebeccas’ (Wild About Nature) ambassador corn snakes. Read Hugh’s (Rock Paper Lizard) book review of Snakebit: Confessions of a Herpetologist by Leslie Anthony. This is just a tiny sampling of the great posts “packaged” on the carnival ready for you to open.

There is also information from Amphibian Ark, a conservation effort whose introduction begins: The world’s amphibians are disappearing. More than one hundred species may have already gone extinct and thousands more are threatened with extinction. Many of the threatened species cannot be safeguarded in the wild and require management away from their natural habitat if they are to persist. Aside from their obvious appeal to nearly all humans, amphibians play a critical role in the global ecosystem, provide us with important pharmaceuticals, and may act as our environmental barometers. There is simply too much at stake in losing them.

Willow House is represented by a post about snapping turtles. The frogs shown on this post were photographed here in September.

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens)

Read Full Post »

frog

Okay, bad pun, but it is nice to find a little Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) nestled onto the sill of the screen door. This little guy (or girl? Females are larger than males and this one was quite big.) spent the day there and moved on some time in the night. Gray Treefrogs are noted for the large adhesive pads on the tips of their toes, which are just visible on this individual. They also have notable colour-changing abilitiy, and the same frog may vary from light gray to brown to pale green. Changing colour takes a bit of time, an hour or more, depending on factors such as the temperature. It is not uncommon to come across an occasional representative of the species through the summer, when they are found in deciduous or mixed forests, woodlots, swamps, old fields and even suburban yards with appropriate plant cover and breeding territory nearby. However, the time when Gray Treefrogs really make their presence known is the spring. If you are near a wetland on a spring evening, especially one ringed with willows and dogwood, you are likely to hear the short trills of Gray Treefrogs ringing out into the night.

toad

Just beyond the doorway, American Toads ((Bufo americanus) are common in and around the garden. This was a mid-sized specimen, perhaps a young toad of this year. Toads are regarded as garden helpers as they eat a variety of insects, spiders and slugs. A few days ago, I spied a garter snake making off with a small toad in its mouth. I resisted the urge to try to save the little toad, which we tend to identify with. Snakes need to eat too.

greenfrog

This fine big Green Frog (Rama clamitans) was just outside the front door last Saturday. It didn’t seem bothered by having a photographer leaning over it and had to be encouraged to move into the garden where it was safer. You can clearly see the dorsolateral fold, the ridge of skin that extends from each eye to about one-half to two-thirds of the way down the back, and around the rear of the tympanum. In mature males, the throat is bright yellow, while females have light yellow or cream-coloured throats. This seems to be a female.

One evening when I turned the porch light on, I noticed the individual below sitting on the step. It’s colour doesn’t identify its species as readily as is the case with the amphibians above. Another Green Frog maybe? It does seem to have a green lip.

frog2

Read Full Post »

toadonboot

Toad on Boot

toad2

Toad

toadinboot

Toad in Boot

Read Full Post »

mobscene

This weekend, Birdgirl and I made a trip back to the old homestead in the Toronto area. Friday night was mild, and Birdgirl set up her mothing sheets. While out checking the sheets, it was apparent that the warm weather was prompting the toads in the area to move to breeding ponds. On Saturday, it was warm and sunny and the trills of male toads calling from the vernal pool announced that the breeding season for the Eastern American Toad (Bufo americanus americanus) was moving into high gear. Birdgirl and I waded through the mud to check out the pond and were able to see numerous toads intent on attracting a mate. Males generally arrive at the breeding site before females, and we only saw one female. She was the object of a lot of male attention! The photo above shows the competition amongst her suitors. The males are noticeably smaller than the female. The tan-coloured male held on tenaciously and eventually came away the winner.

couple

Toads prefer to breed in shallow, temporary pools. During amplexus the male grasps the female’s body from above and can fertilize the female’s eggs externally as they are laid. Toad eggs are laid in two gelatinous strings and a female may lay from 2000 to over 20,000 eggs. The small blackish tadpoles hatch in 2 to 14 days, depending on water temperature. They will eat algae and planktonic organisms and soft vegetation as they grow. Tadpoles transform into tiny toadlets in 6 to 10 weeks. Only a few will survive the two to three years it takes to reach sexual maturity.

The male toad’s song is easy to recognize, a high-pitched extended trill that may last over 30 seconds. Pictured below is a trilling male. You can listen to the call at the Adopt-A-Pond site. Next weekend, May 2nd and 3rd, is the 10th Annual Spring Toad Festival at the Toronto Zoo in the America’s Wetlands. Also, April 28th, 2009 is the 1st Annual ‘Save The Frogs Day

singing

Read Full Post »