Sunday, February 11, 2007

Red Legged Frog

Today I found a slightly squashed red legged frog in the road. They are waking up in their mossy beds in the bush, and making their way to their birth ponds, crossing a road(usually at night). The dead one wasn't broken too bad, I took a few pictures back and tummy(felt like a coroner) and was going to share them, but then it reminded me of anatomy class in college. I had a lab to learn about nerve and electrical impulses through muscles. Our group had to pith a frog, and take its back leg and set it up to make it jerk with little bursts of electricity. I felt sorry for the frog(I believed the whole theory was true, a diagram would've been enough, and besides, I have put my hand on a live electric fence before...). I'd had no problem dissecting a dead bullfrog in high school--that was fascinating. But killing the frog to prove a point seemed too much--I'd have rather watch those electrical impulses hop around a pond. So here are a few photos of LIVE Red Legged Frogs (Rana aurora"dawn, red") I took a few springs ago. I just happened on these frogs being lazy, usually they are skittish.
Here is one floating in the pond. Their bellies and legs are a pretty coral orange. They spend their days and nights croaking on the edge of the pond calling for a girlfriend. It gets quite loud here in February with hundreds of frogs calling day and night, along with the little lime green Pacific Tree Frogs. They will lay their eggs in grapefruit-sized clusters, attached to sticks suspended in water. Last year I counted 13 egg globes in the pond.

They are disappearing from the Willamette Valley, both from habitat loss and being eaten by gluttonous non-native bullfrogs. But in the hills lots of ponds and swampy places remain for them--for now.

1 comment:

burning silo said...

When I was out west in the autumn, I think I found some juvenile Red Legged frogs in a quiet stream. They were quite skittish though, so I didn't get a really good look at them. I've read about the trouble caused by the non-native bullfrogs. Yet another case of something being where it isn't supposed to be, and wreaking havoc on an ecosystem.