January 12, 2021
Ben here with the Tuesday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! We're continuing to count down the rarest frogs and toads in Virginia this week! Here's our number four pick: Pseudacris ocularis, the little grass frog.
"Little grass frog" is an appropriate name for this species, because these are the smallest frogs found in North America! They average between just 0.4 and 0.6 inches long! That's just about the length of the nail on my little finger (I have weird orangutan hands though, so your own mileage may vary).
These tiny frogs can be found in ponds, bogs, swamps, and even ditches within the southeastern Coastal Plain, stretching from southeastern Virginia down to Florida. They eat many small insects, although given their small size, they can easily become prey themselves. There is at least one record of a wolf spider eating one of these little guys! Fortunately, despite their small size, they can leap as much as 1.5 feet to avoid predators.
These frogs are common within their range, but like several of the rare lizards we looked at last week, southeast Virginia represents the northern extent of their range, making them a little difficult to find within the commonwealth. According to the Virginia Herpetological Society website, records of this frog exist in the counties of Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry, and Sussex, along with the cities of Suffolk and Chesapeake.
Thank you to the Virginia Herpetological Society (www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com) for the use of this photo, which was taken by Paul Sattler.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust.
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
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