Green Frog, Rana clamitans/Lithobates clamitans
Despite their name, green frogs can be green, brown, yellowish, tan, or, even blue. Look for the tympanum, a large round external ear visible on the side of their heads.
The green frog lives throughout the eastern half of the US near a shallow water source, including ponds, streams, lakes, and even ditches. Average adult length is 2-4 inches, with females usually larger than males. They typically eat anything they can fit in their mouths, including bugs, small fish and snakes, and sometimes aquatic plants.
Frogs have been known to survive in extreme cold; however, warm temperatures can spell destruction in many ways. Warmer climates cause clouds to form, which can reduce daytime temperatures and increase nighttime temperatures; this moderated warm temperature creates ideal habitats for the chytrid fungus that infects frogs.
Females lay eggs in shallow waters near plants, where they develop after males fertilize them. Because they are “soft-shelled,” eggs must be wet to survive. As the Earth continues to warm, these shallow wetlands are more prone to evaporate and dry up. Can you think what this might do to future populations of green frogs?
Frogs are considered to be ecological indicator species — because their permeable skin easily absorbs toxins and pollutants around them, unhealthy frogs indicate an unhealthy ecosystem. Can you spot any frogs in these urban wetlands? Do they seem healthy? What can you do to help protect wetlands in your community?