Rana sylvatica (LeConte, 1825) – C.L.P. #3

Ah, well, it appears that my subconscious subtly suggested that I stir things up a bit. This, the third C.L.P. entry, will center not on an insect as it has twice previously, but on an amphibian (and, more specifically, one in the order Anura). As you may’ve deduced, I’ll be discussing a frog – a species in the Rana genus.  Rana is overwhelmingly similar to the suborder Caelifera in one right – it is the archetype to which we fall prey when contemplating frogs, just as “Caelifera” is approximately equal to “grasshopper” in the eyes of most.  Indeed, Rana contains those frogs that one typically envisions basking aside flowering pond lilies in profoundly lush (and equally fantastical) castle gardens.  The species that I’ll bring forth today is known as Rana sylvatica – the Wood Frog.

Albeit that this frog is no rarity, it is actually quite elusive – as such, I make a point of attempting to observe at least a few annually.  It exhibits a rather astonishing level of terrestrialism in comparison to other Ranids, as has been noted by various sources.  It has two fascinating habits, actually – firstly, it tends to breed in ephemeral pools, this guaranteeing the parent and its offspring increased protection from some forms of predation.  Secondly, these guys are quite remarkably freeze-tolerant – they will, in fact, fall into several freezing episodes that carry them through the winter.  The ingestion of ice nucleating agents enables them to freeze up to seventy percent of their bodily water, and later allows them to thaw relatively readily, returning to regular life within hours.

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