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Monday, August 30, 2010

Frogs and Dragonflies

This afternoon I was over at Katie's and we again took our cameras out into the amazing garden. The little Pacific tree frogs (also known as Pacific chorus frogs) were again abundant. I'm pretty sure we were mostly seeing juveniles, because adults tend to be 1-2 inches long and these little guys were more on the order of half an inch long:

I noticed a lot of variation in color, with some individuals being all green and others being almost completely brown or copper, with lots of intermediate color forms. I thought maybe you could tell individuals apart by these markings, but I read that some individuals actually seasonally change their color morph over the course of days or weeks based on the background brightness of their habitat. They think there are three common morphs: green, brown, and changers.

Above is a green Pacific tree frog. It's perched on a cattail leaf to give you an idea of how small it is! Below is a more copper-colored individual:

There were also all sorts of insects enjoying the garden, and today I had some luck photographing dragonflies. This first one is a striped meadowhawk (Sympetrum pallipes). Not much is known about the biology of this western species, but I was able to differentiate it from other meadowhawks by its black legs and pale diagonal stripes on the thorax:

There is one common dragonfly I have been seeing a lot of, including at Westside Lake, but I had never successfully photographed it until today. It's a darner of some sort (Aeshna spp.), but there are too many different kinds and I didn't get a good enough look at the necessary field marks to be able to figure out which one it is.

It's a little bit hard to tell here, but the one in the above photograph is a shimmery bluish. The one below was much greener, and as such probably a female:

The dogs were kept out of the garden today so they didn't disturb the wildlife, but they proved just as photogenic back in the yard. Here's the black lab, Ola:


Vera said...

As good of a photographer as you are, you just keep on getting better! Great dragonfly photos and amazingly cute frogs.

Steve Willson said...

Those are some really nice photos of the little tree frogs. I was just looking at some young Gray Tree Frogs that recently emerged from my water garden here in Ohio and they look almost identical to your Pacific Tree Frogs.