Biology Apology – Now We’re Even

My fingers are still sore from the last mega-post so decided to go with a quick one today.  I do not know what the weather was like in your part of the world, but the US Midwest experienced a rather wet Spring and Summer season.  In fact, it just started raining a few minutes ago.  As a well owner, this does not bother me at all and takes a few worries off the daily list.  This rain does have an interesting side effect.  Some validation research is still ongoing, but the preliminary results indicate we have a ton more frogs and toads hopping all over the place in these conditions.  By the incredibly loud croaking that fills the night ambiance, the guess is they are at near plague levels this year.  You know about our stream in the back lot by now, but we also have a couple of ponds near our property that provide a perfect environment for them.  Over time you get pretty good at locating them especially late at night when they are hopping in desperation to escape the car lights and their frantic leaping out of harm’s way from the mowers.  As a personal favor to the reptile gods I try my best to allow them time to make it to safety – a small token of appreciation for helping me get through Biology class.  Every once in awhile, we uncover some nice specimens and usually head straight for the cameras.  Actually that isn’t entirely correct.  First we have to make sure our youngest dog (Rizzi) will leave them alone.  He has an uncanny ability to locate these creatures whenever they visit our porch and makes a bee line to them in order give them a thorough sniffing.  A running joke is our dog needs his frog licking hallucinogenic fix.

To finish cleaning up for the Halloween party, I needed to relocate a bunch of leftover boards from the bridge project.  While lifting up one of the boards, I noticed this amazing frog.

This was clearly worth stopping what I was doing and hunting down the camera.  Slap on the macro glass and off to the shoot.  In an effort not to disturb it much, a decision was made not to bother putting my hand or foot close to it for a better sizing perspective.  For reference, it was sitting on 1″ driveway rock so by that estimate it was probably 4-5″s long and had a pretty beefy 2″ sitting height to it.  It never moved the entire time I was snapping pictures either due to being there the whole time I was working on the wood or simply scared completely out its wits.  In either case, a stationary subject is always a good thing with the macro glass.  There was also some interesting lighting I was trying to play with.  Here is one of those experiments.

I actually really liked how this turned out.  There is enough contrast to isolate the frog from the rock and the upper shadow helps make it stand out really nice in the frame.  If you get a chance, jump over to the Smugmug gallery and look at it in the largest size available – pick Original to see the image in all its detail.  The eye came out very nice and you can make out the pretty cool toes.  As far as the frog family goes, this is probably the second largest I have had the pleasure of actually coming in contact with outside of the zoo.  The largest was one we found in a basement window well at my brother Dan’s previous house back in Channahon IL.  That frog was a good 7-8″s long and easily had a resting height of 3-4″s.  After some reluctance to actually touch that one, we finally managed to get it out of there and sent it on its way back towards a nearby river.

Hit the link to see another angle of … I shall call him Leo

Anyone want to take a guess why I went with that name?  Perhaps you were like me and considered this frog as your standard “Tree Frog”.  A quick check of the Internet revealed this particular specimen is a Leopard Frog or sometimes referred to as a Meadow Frog.  Don’t ask me which of the 14 species it is, because I can’t tell at the moment.  Hopefully, there is no need to explain how this name came to be.  Apparently, they are also used as study subjects due to the high sensitivity to pollution (a good sign for us that Leo is big and healthy) and a common victim for our Biology studies.  Does anyone know if they still cut up real frogs, or has the virtual world taken over this role?  Oh, and their skin doesn’t have the bad tasting property and thus are preyed upon by snakes and raccoons.  Yes, I took the reference material’s word for it rather than prove out the taste property myself (guess I could have asked Rizzi).  I honestly didn’t know raccoons were meat eaters so that was a bonus find.

Closing this post out, here is another shot from the front.  Be sure and check out the front feet.  They kind of look like slimy shell-less snails.

Guessing Leo’s look was a signal for me to either pay him for his modeling services or let him be.  I didn’t want to accidentally step on him while moving the rest of the boards, so gently nudged him into some landscaping.  My hopes of Leo croaking for me so I could familiarize myself with their call sign went unfulfilled.  No complaints though.  Some of the shots came out pretty good, got to see a reptile that doesn’t come out in the open very much and most of all, reset my karma from my high school days.  Actually not entirely true since I’ve easily saved a couple hundred of them just from the mower alone.

Now if I could just get them to kill moles….

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