Monday, September 22, 2014

100 Species to Know by Sight - #1 Wood Frog

Last year I was giving a program in a 5th grade classroom and I asked the students to name some local species of plants and animals so we could create a food chain.  If they said tree, I asked what kind of tree?.  If they said "oak", I asked which one?

If I asked you to name local species how many could you name? 10? 25? 100? 200?

Over the course of this school year, I want to share 100 species that I think kids (and adults) in Mid-Michigan should be able to identify by sight.

The first species is the Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica).  This species is commonly found in woodlands - often far away from water.  Wood Frogs can be identified by their black "mask".  They are the only species of Michigan frog with this feature.  Their call sounds like a "quack" - ponds filled with breeding Wood Frogs sound like they are filled with dozens of invisible ducks.

A Wood Frog in its typical habitat

Wood Frogs can vary in color, but all have the black "mask" under their eyes

Wood Frog bodies are covered with patterns that look like the edges of leaves

This Wood Frog shows very dark markings.

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