Label: Frogs

February 4, 2014

This is a Cocoa Frog (Hypsiboas sp.), a newly discovered species that lives in the rainforest in Surinam. It was discovered in 2013 along with nearly 20,000 other new species around the world. Biologists and other scientists estimate that there are about 8 million species still unidentified, and that doesn’t include the huge number of microbes - microscopic living things like bacteria - that we have not discovered or named yet.

It almost looks good enough to eat….but I wouldn’t try it! 

 

Photo: Stuart V Nielsen



 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(3) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Cool Photo, Frogs   •  Permalink (link to this article)

September 10, 2013

How about this shot of a frog nabbing its lunch as our Cool Photo of the Week? What a great action shot! 

I’m looking at lots of photographs of frogs this week because I am writing a new book about these fascinating amphibians. Do you see how the frog’s eyes bulge out of the side of its head? That enables them to see in nearly all directions, and they will snap at any small, moving object they see.

It’s not that easy to see a frog catching its prey. If a frog spots a large object (like a human) moving nearby, it will immediately leap away to a safe, hidden spot. You must be very still and very sneaky to observe a frog close up.

 

Photo: Cathy Keifer / 123RF

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(1) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Animal Books, New Books, Cool Photo, CollinsSmithsonian books, Frogs   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 4, 2013

Something extraordinary happened on the first spring day up in the country (the Hudson Valley in New York State). Not the first day of spring (that’s March 21st) but the first day that feels like spring, which can be any day from early March to mid April. Well, we had a day like that last week and naturally we went looking for early signs of spring like spring peepers. So we were visiting pond after pond but most of them showed no signs of spring. Many of the ponds were still partly frozen and even those that had no ice still showed no signs of frogs, frog eggs, or tadpoles.

 

All that changed when we drove past a small spring pond with the car windows open and heard a deafening chorus of what sounded like a mixture of peepers and birds honking. We immediately stopped the car and got out to look. In addition to the usual high pitched chirping of the tiny spring peepers, the pond was alive with honking sounds and large, thrashing frogs. The sounds were deafening. The water looked alive with frogs leaping and grasping and showing sudden bursts of speed. I had never seen anything like it before. I had binoculars and a camera but the frogs were too far away from where we stood to really identify them. It was only after I got home and did some research that I found out what kind of frogs they were and what was happening.

I went to my computer, opened up the Google Search, and typed in "Frogs Quacking like Ducks". Sure enough, the answer popped right up.

 

The frogs were wood frogs, a small (1 to 3 inches long) blacked masked frog that lives in the eastern United States from Georgia all the way up to the Arctic Circle. It is the only frog known to live north of the Arctic Circle. Usually they live in wet grasslands or moist woodlands. But they hibernate during the winter and as soon as they thaw out in spring, they head for temporary ponds formed by spring rains and snow melt.

The wood frogs use these ponds to make and lay eggs. The male frogs call to the females with duck-like quacks. The females lay their eggs and the males fertilize them in huge masses that contain 1000-2000 eggs. The females move the floating egg mass into the shallow ends of the pond in a large raft of other egg masses. Then all the frogs leave the pond leaving the eggs to survive on their own. The eggs are even able to withstand freezing weather and ice formations. The eggs hatch in a few weeks as tadpoles and the tadpoles take about six weeks to develop into frogs. Another amazing story of the natural world!

I recorded some of the scene using the video setting on my camera. Click play below to hear (you may have to wait up to one minute for the video to load, depending on the speed of your connection. Be patient - it’s worth it!). The wind is blowing, which makes it a little noisy. But, listen past the gusty wind. The first thing you’ll hear are the high-pitched peepers. Listen more closely, and you’ll hear quacking, as if there was a flock of geese flying by. That is the sound of the wood frogs, and it was even louder in person!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(0) Comments  •   Labels: SeeMore Explorers, Animals, Video, Frogs, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 1, 2013

Today we begin our month-long Earth Day 2013 coverage on the Seymour Science blog. This month we are committing to Meatless Mondays (do you know why that helps reduce CO2 emissions? We will write about that next Monday). We will also be measuring our carbon footprints, suggesting fun and valuable projects that you can do to help protect our environment, and simply celebrating the magnificent beauty of our planet home.

We look forward to your comments throughout the month of April. Tell us what you are doing to celebrate Earth Day in your home, school or community. We hope that you will make it Earth Day, EVERY day, not just in April, but throughout the year.

 

Photo: "Frog Dancing after Rain" by Shikhei goh

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Conservation, Earth, Environment, Frogs, Earth Day 2013   •  Permalink (link to this article)

October 9, 2012

 

It is cranberry harvest time all across the US and Canada. Cranberries grow on long vines in peat marshes - soft, marshy ground, usually near wetlands. When cranberries reach their peak color and plumpness this time of year, growers flood the fields with up to 18 inches (nearly one-half meter) of water. Then the farmers use machines to stir up the water - causing the cranberries to break from their vines and float to the top of the water so they can be harvested.

Our friend, the author/illustrator Scott Nash (his excellent new novel is THE HIGH SKY ADVENTURES OF BLUE JAY THE PIRATE), took this great shot of an unexpected bonus in amongst the cranberries. And that’s today’s Cool Photo of the Week - a blog about a frog in a bog on Cape Cod! 

Posted by: Liz Nealon

(4) Comments  •   Labels: Cool Photo, Frogs, Reptiles   •  Permalink (link to this article)

April 7, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you see the full moon last night? The Native American Oto people call the April moon the "Little Frog Croak" moon, and I think that is a perfect name for this time of year.

Have you heard the "spring peepers" singing yet? If you are anywhere near a pond or wetlands on a warm spring night, you will hear their thousands of tiny calls. The male frogs have awoken from their winter hibernation and are looking for a mate near a pond where they can lay their eggs. Within a matter of weeks, we’ll start to see swimming tadpoles who will eventually develop legs and become full grown frogs.

The Oto people recognize this life cycle, with its call that signals the hope of spring to all of us, by naming the April moon after these tiny frogs. 

 

P.S. Have you noticed an extremely bright star in the sky these last few weeks? That is not a star - it is the largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter. These are great days for skywatching!

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Astronomy, moon, Earth Day 2012, Frogs, Sky Watching   •  Permalink (link to this article)

February 29, 2012

 

The Smithsonian Institution is celebrating Leap Day with fun facts about frogs and their leaping abilities. Did you know that before the New Guinea bush frog leaps at a strange frog it puffs itself up and shows its blue tongue? Now THAT would be a sight to see!

 

There are more fun Leap Day frog facts and a frog song on the Smithsonian website. Click here to see for yourself.

 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(8) Comments  •   Labels: Frogs, Reptiles   •  Permalink (link to this article)

June 13, 2011

Welcome to week one of SUMMER VACATION SCIENCE!

Frogs live all over the world. About twenty different kinds are in the United States including bullfrogs, including bullfrogs (Rana cateseiana), leopard frogs (R. pipiens) and green frogs (R. clamitans). Frogs can live almost anywhere if there is enough water.

Summer time is too late in the year to collect frogs’ eggs, but you can certainly collect tadpoles. Tadpoles will grow into frogs in a home aquarium or in a large wide-mouthed jar. But keep in mind that it’s important for you to be able to return the baby frogs to their natural environment after you’ve kept them.

Click here to download today’s unit: FROM TADPOLES TO FROGS, to learn not only how to do this yourself, but also how to help protect frogs and their habitats. 


This summer, our goal is to get kids outdoors, exploring and enjoying the world around them. Check back here throughout the summer for new installments of Summer Vacation Science.


 

Posted by: Seymour Simon

(2) Comments  •   Labels: Animals, Summer Vacation Science, Conservation, Frogs   •  Permalink (link to this article)