Friday 30 December 2011

Agile Frog - Rana dalmatina

This is a somewhat random natural history post because we are struggling to find things to blog about without getting really repetative at the moment. I am engaged in cataloguing my natural history photos for the year and updating Loire Valley Nature, and this nice little frog came up in April's photos.

Amphibians are not my principle interest, although I did do a university module on Reptiles and Amphibs and I quite like them. At the time I took the photo I didn't bother checking it for a definite ID, but just filed it under Rana sp assuming it would turn out to be a Common Frog Rana temporaria. Since Common Frogs do not live up to their name in this neck of the woods I would have been perfectly happy with that.

Anyway, now I have studied the photos I realised that the frog in the pictures has too pointy a snout to be a Common Frog. I checked HerpFrance to see what the other possibilities where and from there realised that I had an Agile Frog R. dalmatina. This species is also uncommon, and like all amphibians in France is protected. I've realised that from time to time I encounter Agile Frogs in the grass in fields and woodland clearings, just like this one in the Brenne.

They often live a long way from water, typically in mixed broadleaf forest, and are tolerant of hot dry conditions. They are called Agile Frogs because of their particularly long limbs, which can propel them as much as 2 m. For a creature that is only 6-8 cm long, that's quite a leap.


You can read about the other commonly observed frogs of this area here.


Tim said...

Matches the photo in "Larousse" perfectly... the other illustration I mentioned yesterday showing warty back marks on a common frog was a drawing and looks more like the Larousse photo of the Grenouille de Champs [R.arvalis aka. Moor Frog]. I think I'll get that new Identification guide that Herpfrance are showing. The illustrations look superb.

Leon Sims said...

Susan - I like frogs but I hear that they are a dwindling population here in Australia while those nasty toad things up in QLD are migrating at an outlandish pace.

chm said...

I knew there was [or still is ?] a famous night club in Montmartre, le Lapin Agile, but I didn't know there was a grenouille agile. You learn something new every day.

Susan said...

Tim: you buy it, I'll borrow it :-)

Leon: frogs are in trouble all over the world due to a fungal infection thought to be spread by American Bullfrogs via the pet trade.

chm: le Lapin agile still exists - we have a photo of it, but I think it is a bit of a tourist trap now.

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