Frog­gie went a-court­ing

Canal Boat - - Waterside Wildlife -

part­ner, nup­tial pads of thick­ened, rough skin have de­vel­oped on his thumbs al­low­ing a tight grip on rough patches on the fe­male’s sides.

Spawn­ing it­self takes place in the wa­ter: the fe­male lays over 2,000 black eggs which are im­me­di­ately fer­tilised by sperm re­leased by the male. At first the spawn sinks down into the wa­ter, but as their gelati­nous cap­sules ab­sorb wa­ter and swell up, large clumps float to the sur­face. The fe­male wan­ders off, leav­ing her off­spring to their fate, and the male looks around for an­other fe­male. Frogs reach sex­ual ma­tu­rity at three to four years, and usu­ally re­turn to the same breed­ing site each year.

There is only one com­mon frog species found in Bri­tain though, from the range of colour and mark­ings, you would be for­given for think­ing that there are many. The skin ranges from a pale green­ish­grey, through bright yel­low to a dark, olive brown; and it can be marked with speck­les in black, brown or red.

The frog can change the colour of its skin by ma­nip­u­lat­ing dark pig­ment cells scat­tered over its body: it dark­ens in cold and damp weather. The pale un­der­side cam­ou­flages it against the light from un­der­wa­ter preda­tors.

Frogs live on a diet of in­ver­te­brates. Slugs and worms are favourites, but in­sects may also be caught. In their turn, adult frogs are a wel­come food source for many larger fish and birds.

Next to the nute swan, the grey heron is our largest com­mon bird with a wing span of 5- 6 ft. Look for “those

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.