A Dalliance of Wood frogs

[I am a big fan of a blog called Naturally Curious by Mary Holland.  Today she scooped me.  Yesterday, I had prepared this blog on mating wood frogs beside my driveway, and waited till today to send it. I have decided to go ahead anyway, because not all of you read her excellent blog. https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com  ]

The shallow pond by our driveway still had ice on it on Friday. Saturday was the first warm and ice-free day, and on Saturday night this was our lullaby:

You might think it was ducks but no, it was wood frogs, who come to the pond to mate in very early spring. Here is a wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus, in the forest where they live the rest of the year.

Wood frogs mating

They were still at it during the day, and I managed to get some not very good photos; they  are only two inches long, and they are extremely skittish, so you can’t get close, and after they are disturbed they don’t return for 20-30 minutes. Here is a head-on shot:

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And a profile. The eyes are surrounded by a big spherical membrane that looks like an old-fashioned goldfish-bowl diving helmet.

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The loud quacking sounds are amplified by a pair of air sacs that they inflate when they call, and I managed to get just one shot that shows them inflated:

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In this photo, they do remind me rather of silicone breast implants.

And sometimes all that effort pays off; and yes, the males are smaller than the females.

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It appears that not all the liaisons are private one-on-one affairs. At one point a small area of the pond was bubbling like a witch’s cauldron. Here is a not very exciting video to give you a sense of what I saw. What lay beneath the surface one must leave to the imagination.

4 thoughts on “A Dalliance of Wood frogs”

  1. Moira: because of your comment on Mary’s blog, (back in August, or so) that’s how I found your blog! Lucky me! And, that’s how I started following Eliza’s blog! I love the sound of Spring Peepers & Woodfrogs. Been hearing them for 2 days. That’s an interesting video, lots of activity!

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  2. Thank you, Moira!! I was the unwitting recipient of a dalliance of wood frogs this afternoon while looking around and waiting, waiting, for the geese to explode overhead! And they never came, I even tried to make a video of their sound, and as I got closer to the source, their calls got sparser and then stopped. Pils, you nailed it! >

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  3. Spring peepers are a different species,, and they haven’t yet appeared in my pond this year, though you can hear one single solitary one on the audio recording I made. I imagine they will join the fun in a week or two.

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