Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ABC Wednesday: Frog (American Bullfrog - Lithobates catesbeianus)



"F" is for Frog.


In this case, an American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus or Rana catesbeiana), sitting at the pond's edge and waiting for prey to come within range.

Food:  Bullfrogs are carnivores.  They will eat anything they can subdue and swallow, including insects, fish,  snakes, small mammals and other frogs.  They often use their front legs to help shove food down their throats.  Bullfrogs (and other frogs) even retract their eyes as an aid to swallowing.  (Eye retraction helps push the prey toward their esophagus.)

Range:  The native range of bullfrogs was eastern North America.  However, they've been introduced and naturalized throughout much of the continental US, and as far south as Mexico and Cuba. They have even found their way to Europe, South America, and Asia.  Introduced bullfrogs often cause ecological problems because they eat all the native frog species.  In the wild, bullfrogs can live up 7-9 years and a female can lay as many as 20,000 eggs.

Habitat:  Freshwater ponds, lakes, and marshes.  The bullfrog in the photo above was in a small stock pond on our neighbor's cow pasture.

Respiration:  Frogs in the family Ranidae absorb oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide through their moist skin, the lining of the mouth, and the lungs.

Territory:  Males are highly territorial and will aggressively guard their plot of pond.

Hearing:  The circular disc on the side of the frog's head is a tympanum which functions like a eardrum.

Human uses:  Fried frog legs and dissection specimens for school biology labs. 




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13 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

There are a couple of restaurants here in town that serves Frog legs. I can remember going frog hunting once with my Dad when I was a little girl. I was too noisey. ha...

KaHolly said...

Very enlightening, Marvin. I never thought about them being an invasive species somewhere else! How interesting that retracting their eyes aids in swallowing their tasty treats! Who would have thought? Mother Nature certainly is remarkable. ~karen

texwisgirl said...

Great shot! They're so incredibly camera shy...

I haven't heard the bull frogs here yet but our spring peepers are coming alive again!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Very interesting, Marvin. Thanks.

I've always enjoyed the sound of a chorus of bullfrogs. The peepers are out here, also, but no croakers, so far.

Crafty Green Poet said...

They're pretty impressive frogs, but I think I prefer our smaller more elegant frogs....

I enjoyed your geology post too

RedPat said...

I have been touring your blog and quite enjoyed it! I'll be back- I don't get to see a lot of nature in the city. I've always loved frogs but these big guys are a bit intimidating - nice shot!
Thanks for visiting Occasional Toronto.
Redpat

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

We've got them all over the place here in western Oregon. I took some photos last year of some of their tadpoles- they were HUGE.

Lulu Post said...

we just had frog legs last weekend! thanks for the info about frog.
Please visit my entry: F is for Fishing

Roger Owen Green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Owen Green said...

love the pic, but esp the info. 'jeremiah was a bullfrog...'

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Gattina said...

Interesting, I like frogs ! A very beautiful picture too !

Gattina
ABC team

JM said...

Very cool frog shot. I wonder how big it is.

Audrey said...

Thank you, i have always loved frogs, and we have many bullfrogs where I live. I just adore the tadpoles! But I would never eat frog legs!