Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nature Guide: Green Frog

Our Nature Guide hates it when I anthropomorphize, but these Green Frogs seemed pleased when I took their picture at a garden pond. The aforementioned Nature Guide, Jon Latimer, tells us more about the Green Frog.

"The Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) is native to the eastern half of the United States and Canada. Its body is from 2 to 4 inches long. Despite its name, individuals can be bronze, brown or light green depending on where it lives. Green Frogs shouldn't be confused with their relative the American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus), which is twice their size (3 1/2 to 8 inches). Green Frogs also have two prominent folds in their skin that run down the sides of their back; the back of a bullfrog is smooth.

"Green Frogs live in and near shallow water, especially where there is a lot of vegetation. Although they are active both day and night during warm weather, Green Frogs can be difficult to spot. Often the only way you know one is nearby is the sound of its call or the splash when it flees into the water. Its call is a short, explosive "glunk" that sounds like a banjo string being plucked. During cold weather they become dormant and hide in mud.

"Male Green Frogs can be identified by their yellow throat and a large eardrum, known as a 'tympanum,' located just behind the eye. During breeding season males may establish territories along the edges of streams and ponds. They announce their claim with their call and they will physically defend their territory against intruders.

"Females have a white throat and a smaller tympanum. Both genders are voracious feeders and will consume anything that will fit into their mouth. Their diet includes crickets, flies, fish, crayfish, shrimp, grasshoppers, smaller frogs, tadpoles, small snakes, birds, mollusks and moths. Tadpoles consume algae and water plants."