Huge Congregation of River Frogs Documented in Georgia
by Dirk Stevenson
When the accomplished Albert Hazen Wright (1879-1970), Cornell University Professor and Herpetologist, first encountered the strange tadpoles of the River Frog (Lithobates heckscheri), he knew instantly he was looking at a new species. Wright, who described the new frog in 1924, wrote of the species’ habitat”…swampy edges of rivers and streams, a truly fluviatile species” and mentioned that the polliwogs “travel in big schools as no other big tadpoles do.”
John Jensen, herpetologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and Jim Wright (no relation to Albert) just published a fascinating paper in the current issue of Herpetological Review about the River Frog. Last May, along the shores of a tributary to Muckalee Creek, Jim snapped incredible photos of a mass metamorphosis event of River Frogs—an estimated 4,000 tadpoles transformed and became froglets, congregating on nearby sand-and-mud-bars.
An adult female River Frog can lay 5,000 to 14,000 eggs in a floating surface film. The tadpoles require one to two years to develop and sometimes reach phenomenal sizes (ca. 5 inches) prior to metamorphosis…
(read more: Orianne Society)
Photos by Jim Wright and Dirk Stevenson