Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sierran Treefrog

On the same trip that I found the Scaphinotus ground beetle (see previous post) I came upon a stream less than a mile further up the hill. I was a bit surprised that there was as much water as there was. For even though this is the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, this particular drainage is fairly low - just the back side of Table Mountain, a low elevation plateau.

I was even more surprised to hear many frog calls and went in for a closer look. I spent several minutes (it seemed a lot longer) looking for the creatures but couldn't find a single one and as I approached the water their calling stopped. How hard could it be to find a frog when I knew there had to be several of them there?

Finally I spotted a little movement in the water and there they were - perfectly quiet and holding on to small rocks in the slight current. I'm not a frog expert by any means so I had to dig out the field guide for an identification. I think it fits pretty well with the description of the Sierran treefrog Pseudacris sierra. It's quite an attractive animal and a bit unusual in that for a treefrog it was obviously adapted here for life on the ground. Of course, the Sierra foothills are quite dry most of the year so this makes sense. I'm not really certain though that the stream even runs all year. I may go back in September and take a look.

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