It ain’t easy being a frog…

It ain't easy...

It ain’t easy…, photo by stevedontsurf.

Steven writes that: Actually, on this day, it seemed pretty easy being green. This guy was eating fly after fly as I snapped away. Must’ve had 5-6 flies in about as many minutes. He looked like lack of food was not an issue. Check it out background big and in his slideshow.

Coincidentally, I came across an article this morning about a nasty fungus called chytrid that has been the culprit of 94 out of 122 frog extinctions since 1980 and that can also affect some toads and salamanders. Brian Gratwicke of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo says:

“There’s frogs all around the world being affected. There’s amphibians that have gone extinct in Australia, in the Caribbean, in North America, in South America, in Central America.”

…There is also a real cost to humans from the frog extinctions. Frogs’ skins are anti-microbial factories. They’ve produced compounds that kill superbugs in hospitals.

“There’s a species of frog in Australia that produces a chemical called caerin, which blocks HIV transmission to T-cells,” Gratwicke says. “The untapped resources of our amphibian biodiversity are virtually unknown.”

Click through to read much more and also check out the Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) on Michigan in Pictures.

Know Your Michigan Frogs: Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog

Northern Leopard Frog, photo by Adore707.

National Geographic’s Northern Leopard Frog page says that the range of the species:

…is most of northern North America, except on the Pacific Coast. They generally live near ponds and marshes, but will often venture into well-covered grasslands as well, earning them their other common name, the meadow frog.

Leopard frogs will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouths. They sit still and wait for prey to happen by, then pounce with their powerful legs. They eat beetles, ants, flies, worms, smaller frogs, including their own species, and even birds, and garter snakes.

They also note leopard frogs were once the most abundant and widespread frog species in North America, but that declines beginning in the 1970s have significantly reduced their numbers. The Michigan DNR’s Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) page says that the frogs have had a similar and equally mysterious decline in Michigan, making a sighting of them rare in may parts of the state where they were once common. For more pictures & information, see Rana pipiens at the UM Animal Diversity Web and Northern Leopard Frog on Wikipedia.

See this bigger in Eli’s Nature slideshow.

More Michigan frogs on Michigan in Pictures!

Northern Green Frog

Northern Green Frog

Frog!, photo by StormchaserMike Photography.

I nearly misidentified this guy as an American Bullfrog, likely confusing a whole new generation of readers just as they were recovering from Turtlegate.

The Michigan Herps page on Michigan’s Frogs & Toads says that misidentification is common – the trick is the fold of skin running from their eardrum to their back. The UM Animal Diversity Web entry for Lithobates clamitans (green frog) says you can find them all over the eastern US and that:

Green frogs are found in a wide variety of habitats that surround most inland waters, such as: swamps, wooded swamps, ponds, lakes, marshes, bogs, banks of slow moving rivers and streams, oxbow lakes, sloughs, and impoundments. Juveniles may disperse into wooded areas or meadows during times of rain. Green frogs overwinter in the water usually buried in the substrate.

Green frogs produce as many as six different calls. Males attracting a mate give an advertisement call and a high-intensity advertisement call. Their advertisement call has been compared to the pluck of a loose banjo string. Male frogs defending a territory from an intruding male usually give aggressive calls and growls. The release call is given by non-receptive females and by males accidentally grabbed by another male. Finally, the alert call is given by males and females when startled or attacked by a predator.

Green frogs have an excellent sense of vision and use this to detect and capture prey.

You can hear one of their calls at the link above and also read about them at Wikipedia and the MIchigan DNR’s page on the Green Frog.

Check this out bigger and see it in context in Mike’s Cass Lake set (slideshow).

More about Michigan’s animals from Michigan in Pictures.

When Frog stole the Waters

When Frog Stole the Waters

When Frog stole the Waters, photo by Apocaplops.

I don’t know what the story is here, but I like it. You can see it in full-size glory in Erich’s slideshow.

Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)

Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor), photo by Wrobel Photographic Arts

Paul Wrobel writes

These little guys change colors depending on their surroundings and the temperature. Here he is just starting to change from gray to green. This is a full grown adult about two inches in length. With legs extended he is about 5-6 inches long.

Our good friends at the UM Animal Diversity Web have more information about the Gray Treefrog (including pictures and sounds).