Monday, March 26, 2012


All photos by Jonathan Schechter - March 23, 2012

...from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful  and most wonderful have
 been, and are being evolved."  Charles Darwin.  The Origin of Species   1859

Almost three weeks have passed since frogs of many species answered their seasonal call of the
 wild.Stirred by early warmth they hopped off to their vernal ponds for mass matings.
When it comes to  frog sex there is little in the way of discretion or privacy. 
Each species creates  its own croak, harrumph, peep, or quack (wood frogs quack!) to attract
mates of their species.
That is nature's way.
But today, after wandering back to my woodland vernal pond  to listen to early spring in the
woods - something I  often do - and seeing one particular frog again, kind of by himself again,
I  began to wonder if perhaps nature is experimenting in a fashion that would make Darwin smile.

Wood frogs have a distinct dark mask across the eyes and dark colored legs with occasional
dark bands on the legs.  Larger leopard frogs have spotted legs.  And so when I first saw this
 frog I was puzzled and sent the photo to a Michigan herpetologist who wrote to let me
know "It's a wood frog", but "oddly colored" with "unusual" markings on the legs.
 I wondered some more.
And now maybe you wonder too.
Is this frog perhaps the result of a bit of froggy frolics and dallying and diddling between
 species  last spring on a warm and sultry rainy night of hard-wired, fast-paced frog lust. 
  The answer remains a secret of the frog's night world of  primordial soup we call vernal ponds.

Look closely: The mystery frog is just right of center, about 1/3 the way up from bottom.


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