The Incredible Frogs of Borneo

harlequin flying frog

Harlequin Flying Frog – photo by Brad Josephs

Join Brad Josephs for a visual feast of the beautiful frogs of Borneo.  This article includes recordings of some of the frogs and an excellent Youtube that Brad put together.

If you love these little critters, you’ve got to see this wonderful tour.

See the article at: http://www.alaskabearsandwolves.com/watch-the-incredible-frogs-of-borneo/


Save Land and Save Frogs with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust

by Sim Barrow

It is just after sunset as I make my way through the dense grass and shallow pools at Wilson Springs Preserve in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The thunderstorms from earlier in the day have subsided, and the horizon glows with the remaining light of the day.  With clipboard and pencil in hand, I stop at the edge of an embankment and wait. After a few minutes, the relative quiet is interrupted by a chorus of leopard frogs, American toads and spring peepers.  These are the sounds that drew me to the site, and are the reason for my evening visit to the Preserve.

Frog and toad activity at Wilson Springs Preserve is no small matter for the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. Protecting wildlife habitat is one of our highest priorities in our work to conserve the natural landscapes of our region.  Whether through conservation easements or by receiving land as a donation, we ensure that those lands will continue to serve as a place for wildlife forever, even as the human population grows.

Of course, seeing the land preserved is just the beginning. With each conserved property we commit to the ongoing stewardship of the land, which includes biomonitoring, or the tracking of native plant and animal species like frogs and toads. The information we gain from biomonitoring is used to inform land management practices like restoration activities and invasive plant removal. It also serves as an indicator of the overall health of the habitat. Because frogs and toads are such great indicator species, it makes sense for the land trust to specifically monitor for them.

For this reason, we are excited to integrate the FrogWatch USA frog monitoring program into our biomonitoring plan.  Citizen-science programs are an excellent way to engage with the community and help people enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. It is also a helpful resource for nonprofits like the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust that have limited staff capacity.  We look forward to recruiting and training new FrogWatch volunteers in 2017 to help us monitor frogs and toads on some of our properties.  It’s also a great opportunity for current volunteers to explore new areas and support local conservation efforts.

Join me and the other NWA Chapter Coordinators this February 25 from 1pm-6pm for the first FrogWatch training workshop of the year. The workshop will be held at the Historic Ozark Mountain Smokehouse (1725 Smokehouse Trail Fayetteville, AR 72701). There will be a special trip to our Wilson Springs Preserve following the workshop, where we will practice the skills taught in the training. We may even hear crawfish frogs making their characteristic “snoring” sound! Contact sbarrow@nwalandtrust.org to register for the training.

With your help, we can all protect habitat for frogs and toads in Northwest Arkansas. Thank you, volunteers, for your commitment to frog and toad conservation!


2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar now available

2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads CalendarThe 2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar is now available for a $10 donation.

  • Excellent images of Arkansas frogs, toads, tadpoles, and egg strings!
  • Each species call and season
  • Information about the citizen science frog monitoring program – FrogWatch USA
  • Phenology chart for all 23 Arkansas frog and toad species
  • Six images and descriptions of Endangered Species (NEW!)
  • Six images and descriptions of Invasive Species (NEW!)

2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads CalendarWe printed just 200 of these calendars.

When they are gone, they are gone.

For more information and to get your calendar by PayPal or credit card,

CLICK HERE

Thank you for your support of Arkansas Frogs and Toads!


Doctor Frog is in!

Doctor Frog

Will Doctor Frog cure you someday?

Doctor Frog and his bag of medical wonders may be able to cure your ailment!  Frogs and toads produce chemical cocktails on their skins to deter predators from eating them.  Those unique compounds are being used for many medical applications such as cancer cures and pain killers.  Dr. Jodi Rowley of the Australian Museum Research Institute has written an excellent article about the curative aspects of “Frog Goo” which you can read HERE – Frog goo to the rescue.


Master Gardeners can help Frogs

the buck garden in new jersayAttention Gardeners (Master and otherwise)

Peg and I recently talked to Master Gardeners at the annual state meeting held in Eureka Springs.  All Gardeners can do a lot to help save the Earth’s biodiversity and frogs and toads in particular.  Over 40% of the world’s amphibians are currently at risk of extinction due, in part, to pollution.

Actions Master Gardeners and others can take

  • Plant natives – avoid imported plants which may out-compete local species and become invasive.  In addition, pollinators may be disrupted by the imports.  Native species will thrive with less care than imports.  One invasive to avoid is Bradford Pear Trees.
  • Avoid Chemicals – Pesticides, Herbicides, and chemical Fertilizers all end up washing downstream into rivers and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.  Every year there is a 5,000 square mile dead zone along the shorelines of Louisiana and Texas from gardener’s use of chemicals that wash down the Mississippi River.  Frogs and toads like fresh water environments!  This website has natural alternatives for weed and bug control:  http://www.gardensalive.com/
  • Build a Pond – “If you build it, they will come.”  There are lots of good articles on the internet for building a frog pond.  Check out http://www.savethefrogs.org/ponds  Frogs and toads will find your pond in short order.  The tadpoles will eat any algae buildup and the adults will eat any mosquito larvae.Toad Houses
  • Place a Toad House –  You can get a fancy one as pictured or just turn over an old terracotta pot and knock out an entrance.  Your toad will stay there during the day and may hibernate there in the winter.  Be sure to place your “toad abode” under some shady foliage and make sure the bottom is open so Mr. Toad can absorb moisture through his stomach in contact with the ground.

Gardeners and Master Gardeners can have a direct impact on whether frogs and toads make it through the current mass extinction by making intelligent choices in their gardening practices.


Frogs in Winter

Frogs in Winter

Have you ever wondered where frogs and toads spend the winter?

They adapt to the cold in a number of ways including freezing solid and then thawing out in the spring!  Learn all about these amazing amphibians during this Frogs in Winter free presentation by Tom Krohn, Arkansas Regional Coordinator for Frog Watch USA and North Central Arkansas Master Naturalist.

It will be presented at the following locations in January:

Saturday, January 3rd, 10:00 – 11:30 am, Fred Berry Conservation Education Center at Crooked Creek, Yellville, Arkansas.  Call (870) 449-3484 to register or email mdoran@agfc.ar.gov

Saturday, January 17th, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Hobbs State Park, Rogers, Arkansas.  No pre-registration needed


Frogs in Winter

Frogs in WinterFrogs in winter can be challenged

Ever wonder where the frogs and toads go in the winter?  They are “ectothermic” or cold-blooded animals that depend on the environment to maintain their body temperature.  So where do they hide to avoid being frozen solid in a place like this?

The answer depends on which species you are talking about.  And before we can address that, we need to describe what’s available in the winter environment.

Three choices for a winter home

There is water.  Water would do frogs absolutely no good if it froze solid, but water has the unusual property that ice floats on the surface.  It is less dense than the water it is floating on.  In fact, water becomes more dense as it cools down to 39.16° F.  Then it become less dense the colder it gets until it freezes at 32°.  That means that the temperature of the water at the bottom of a lake or pond will be 39.16° F because the most dense water will sink to that level.

There is earth.  The earth can become cold and freeze during cold weather, but only on the surface down to the frost line.  You see, the earth is a huge heat sink that is not easily frozen.  Below the frost line, the earth stays at a constant temperature – usually in the high 50° F range.

There is debris.  The forest floor is covered with leaves, rotting logs, rocks and stone.  Although these are not great insulators, they provide some protection from the wind and winter precipitation.

Frogs and toads in Arkansas hibernate in the winter.  Their metabolism is greatly reduced or shuts down completely during hibernation.  They find a place to “sleep” out the winter in a shelter called a “hibernaculum.”  So which frogs and toads select each type of shelter?

Where do individual species go?

American BullfrogAquatic Species – This includes the American Bullfrog, Green (Bronze) Frog, Pickerel Frog, and Southern Leopard Frog.  These four will dive down to the bottom of the pond, lake, or stream and settle in to the mud and silt for the winter.  The water and ice above them are great insulators against the winter.  They stop breathing with their lungs, and blood is increased to the permeable skin where oxygen is obtained directly from the cold water (“cutaneous respiration”).  Their legs are “spread eagle” to keep them in place.  Their second eyelids (nictitating membranes) are pulled up over their eyes which sink deep into their cranial cavities for protection.  They don’t get under the mud because there is not enough dissolved oxygen in it and they would suffocate.  Their hearts continue to pump a small amount of blood, but they don’t eat and spend the winter in a state of torpor.  By the way, Bullfrog and Green frog tadpoles will also over-winter at the bottom and fed on plant material and detritus (waste material).

Dwarf American ToadToads – This includes the Dwarf American, Fowler’s, Western and Eastern Narrow-mouthed toads, and the three Spadefoot species.  Toads will take advantage of the warm earth below the frost line by digging a burrow (or borrowing one from another animal).  Their metabolism cuts way back, but they continue to breathe and pump blood.  The Crawfish Frog also stays in a burrow all winter.  Unlike the aquatic frogs, these toads, spadefoots, and Crawfish Frog do not assume a “spread eagle” position, but keep their limbs close to their bodies.

 

Pseudacris FouquetteiTreefrogs – This includes the Bird-voiced, Cope’s, Gray, Green, Spring Peeper and Squirrel treefrogs, the Boreal, Cajun, Illinois, and Strecker’s chorus frogs, Blanchard’s Cricket Frog, and the Wood Frog (which is not a tree frog).  These frogs find hibernacula on the forest floor.  They pull their limbs in, protect their eyes, and shut down under leaf litter, in rotting logs, in a shallow burrow or in cracks and crevices of rocks.  Their bodies produce a kind of glucose antifreeze that keeps their vital organs from freezing, but in many cases their bodies appear to freeze solid – like frogsicles!  Wood Frogs in particular can exist in this mostly frozen state north of the Arctic Circle!  In the spring, these frogs thaw from the inside out.  Foxes like to scratch through the leaf litter in search of a frozen frog treat.

Don’t forget to obtain your 2015 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Wall Calendar here


2015 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar now available

This 11″x17″ 2015 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar contains many unique features:

2015 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar

  1. Arkansas frog and toad images taken by Arkansans
  2. Size, range, call, and season for each of the twelve species
  3. An interesting frog or toad fact for each month
  4. Information about Frog Watch USA
  5. An annual chart of frog and toad calling times

This full-color calendar is just $10 plus tax and shipping.  All major credit and debit cards accepted. 




Click on the button to get yours today.
(They make great presents!)

Your purchase of the 2015 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar supports presentations and workshops held around Arkansas.  Thank you . . .


Chytrid Fungus has met its match?

Chytrid fungus targetChytrid fungus targetThe Chytrid fungus (kit-rid) or BD has had a devastating effect on world amphibians since its discovery in the Monteverde cloud forest of Costa Rica in 1987.  But a recent study by a group of European scientists may have found a natural predator of the Chytrid fungus that could save amphibians.  Read this article in Scientific American magazine.

Chytrid Fungus article

 


Save the Frogs Day – April 2014

Save the Frogs Day

L-R Kaitlyn Zamzow, Chelsea Korfel, MaryAnne Stansbury, Jeremy Chamberlain, Peggy & Tom Krohn

Save the Frogs Day – Saturday, April 26th

Peg and I spent an enjoyable afternoon at Pinnacle Mountain State Park south of Little Rock on Saturday. Jeremy Chamberlain and Chelsea Korfel brought several frogs and toads including bullfrogs, a chorus frog, green treefrogs, a dwarf American toad, a southern leopard frog, and an eastern narrow-mouthed toad.

Maryanne Stansbury, the park interpreter, was a great host for the event which drew many families.  The kids were shown how to fold a business card into a frog and then race them.

Save the Frogs Day brings public attention to the importance of amphibians, why they are in trouble, and what can be done to help them.  They can be indicators that the environment is in trouble.

Check out the website at www.savethefrogs.com