April Fooling Frogs

Wood frog close up (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

2 April 2022

Have you heard ducks quacking deep in the woods lately? The sound comes from a soggy wooded place or puddle or tiny pond and there is no duck in sight.

Nature is playing an April Fool’s joke. Those aren’t ducks or chickens. Those are male wood frogs calling to attract females. If you could see what they were doing you’d find …

Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) gather together in large leks to mate. In these leks, males are much more common than females, typically outnumbering females by at least two to one. The males arrive first, and begin calling and wrestling with each other. As female wood frogs arrive at the ponds, they swim toward the center of the lek. Multiple males grab them, clinging to each female until one male wins out. This particular mating behavior, in which the male clings to the female, is known as amplexus. The females will typically each lay a single egg clutch consisting of about 400-1,200 eggs.

Description of Wood Frogs from Mister Toad website by Michael F Benard @BenardMF

Wood frogs are some of the earliest frogs to appear in the spring so don’t wait. Get outdoors soon before they’re done mating.

(photo from Wikimedia Commons, video by Gregory Bulte)

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