Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Anuran overload

Here's a selection of photos of frogs and toads (order Anura; class Amphibia; phylum Chordata) from my portfolio. Enjoy!

Pool frog
Pelophylax lessonae (Camerano, 1882) - Ranidae
Slimbridge Wetland Centre, Gloucestershire
September 2009

Once thought to be an invasive species in eastern England, the pool frog was exterminated, before realising it is in fact native, as there are subfossil remains. D'oh! It's back in the wild in the UK now.

Marsh frog
Pelophylax ridibundus (Pallas, 1771) - Ranidae
Crews Hill, Enfield, North London
June 2008

Hybridises with the pool frog to create the edible frog (Pelophylax kl. esculenta), so called because it is the type most often used to create the French delicacy, frog's legs. Or grenouille if you're French.

Levantine frog
Pelophylax bedriagae (Camerano, 1882) - Ranidae
Wild at Geçitköy Reservoir, North Cyprus
April 2009

Very similar to the marsh frog, which doesn't occur in southwestern Asia.

Female common frog
Rana temporaria Linnaeus, 1758 - Ranidae
Wild in Epping Forest, Essex
March 2009

The most common frog species in the wild in Britain and much of western Europe. This is a female in prime breeding condition, and on the lookout for mates.

Albino xenopus frog, or African clawed toad
Xenopus laevis Daudin, 1802 - Pipidae
Aquarium at home
September 2008

I had two albino xenopus frogs for a couple of years, named Elaine and Kitchener - here's one of them (sorry I can't tell from that angle!) with a mouthful of spaghetti... nope, they're chironomid larvae (bloodworms).

Tomato frogs
Dyscophus antongilii Grandidier, 1877 - Microhylidae
Manchester Museum
July 2008

Bright orange frogs from Madagascar.

Argentine horned frog
Ceratophrys ornata Bell, 1843 - Leptodactylidae
Natural History Museum, London
June 2009

This rather obese-looking individual was appropriately named 'Sumo', and was resident in the Natural History Museum's Darwin exhibit and followed by the butterfly exhibit last year. The horned frogs are popular pets, and are often known as Pacman frogs, for obvious reasons.

Giant leaf frog
Phyllomedusa bicolor (Boddaert, 1772) - Hylidae
Jardin des Plantes, Paris
January 2010

This large tree frog exudes a waxy substance which it spreads around its entire body using only its feet. Also called the waxy monkey frog.

Golden poison-dart frogs
Phyllobates terribilis (Myers, Daly, and Malkin, 1978) - Dendrobatidae
Jardin des Plantes, Paris
January 2010

Amongst the most dangerous of all animals. Its poison is reputed to kill from secondary contact through another medium. It is completely harmless in captivity, as it extracts the batrachotoxins from some sort of prey animal, which is as yet unknown. That insect would probably be the most toxic animal of all time.

Skeleton of South American common toad
Rhinella margaritifera (Laurenti, 1768) - Bufonidae
Galeries de Paléontologie et Anatomie comparée, Paris
January 2010

Look at those crests! Closely related to the much-maligned cane toad (R. marina), a native of South America introduced to Australia for pest control, and it has ironically become a pest in its own right.

Rococo toad
Chaunus schneideri Werner, 1894 - Bufonidae
London Zoo
December 2009

This really is one huge mother of a toad.

Panther toad
Amietophrynus pantherinus Smith, 1828 - Bufonidae
Crews Hill
June 2008

A southern African species which turns an amazing leopard-like pattern in the breeding season.

Male common toad
Bufo bufo (Linnaeus, 1758) - Bufonidae
Wild in Epping Forest
March 2009

Male common toads are smaller than females... this and the nuptial pads on the hands (for gripping onto the female during coitus) are the best way to tell apart the sexes. Unless you hold a male and give him a squeeze (Ooh! Matron!) ... if he makes a release call, he's basically telling you to back off and leave him to making babies.

Immature common toad
Wild in Enfield
August 2008

I found this toadlet (newly metamorphosized, but still very tiny, toad) in my garden and decided to keep it for a little while. I successfully fed it on aphids, but it ignored ants. I set it free after a couple of weeks because I was struggling to find any food for it.

Green toad
Pseudepidalea viridis (Laurenti, 1768) - Bufonidae
Crews Hill
June 2008

One of the more common toad species in continental Europe, but absent from Britain. Was formerly included in the genus Bufo, but that huge genus was split into several huge genera and a few smaller ones. The other British toad, the natterjack (Epidalea calamita), got its own genus.

I'll come round to the Caudata (newts and salamanders) next time.


Glendon Mellow said...

A surprising skeleton on that toad (#10)!

Mo Hassan said...

Yep, those crests are kickass!