Posts Tagged ‘Rana sylvatica’


This little Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) was attracted to Birdgirl’s mothing sheet on the warm weekend. It shows the distinctive X marking on its back that makes Peepers easy to identify. You can also see the slightly enlarged sticky toe pads that allow these treefrogs to climb trees and shrubs. They are terrestrial except during breeding season, when they use both temporary and permanent ponds, especially in wooded areas, for mating. After the breeding season, they move to woodlands, shrubby areas and old fields. Peepers survive the winter, when they hide under logs, bark or litter, by producing a glucose “antifreeze” that causes ice to form in extracellular spaces instead of in body cells. Their diet includes small bugs such as spiders, mites, ants beetles and caterpillars.

Spring Peepers are a common species throughout the Great Lakes region. Adults migrate to breeding ponds about the same time as Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica). The call of the male Peeper is the loud peeping for which they are named. This year at Willow House, the first calls of both Spring Peepers and Wood Frogs were heard on April 3rd.


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When walking through the woods and along wet areas in the back field, I disturbed a few Northern Leopard frogs (Rana pipiens), who leaped away at my approach. One lingered long enough to have his photograph taken. A few Leopard voices were just beginning to join the chorus of Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). The Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica), singing loudly just a week ago, were now quieter.

Leopard frogs usually overwinter in permanent waters, sitting on the bottom, tucked under the edge of logs or concealed beneath a layer of bottom silt. They move to shallower water for breeding in April or early May. The male’s advertisement call is described as snore-like, or like wet hands rubbing a balloon, followed by a series of chuckles. Amplexus, in which the male grasps the female’s body from above with his forelegs, allows him to fertilize the eggs externally as they are laid. Amplexus usually occurs in the evening. (Check out the great photos of breeding Wood frogs at The Marvelous in Nature.) An amplexed pair will often move to an area where other pairs have already deposited eggs to leave their own eggs. A female lays between 300 and 6,000 eggs in large masses. The eggs are usually attached to submerged debris, twigs or stems. Leopard eggs are black above and white below. Eggs hatch in one to three weeks, depending on water temperature and the tadpoles are ready to transform in two to three months. The little froglets reach mature size in one to three years and may live up to nine years, although few survive this long. In summer, Leopard frogs disperse away from water into meadows or other grassy places, where they absorb moisture from dew or damp soil through their skin.

The Adopt-a-Pond site had a great feature that offers information about frogs and allows you to listen to the songs of various frog species. Hop on over and check it out! (Sorry.) You can also learn about Frog Watch and the Ontario Turtle Tally.

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