Ireland's Biodiversity Awareness Campaign

 

Species of the Month

Below is a list of our previous 'Species of the Month'

Common Yew Tree
Witches' Butter
Oak
Hen Harrier
Eurasian Otter
Harbour Porpoise
Rat
Snowdrop
Blackthorn
Frog
Holly
Fox
Butterfiles of Ireland
Hare
Corncrake
Barn Owl
Hedgehog
Robin

 

 


The Frog - Loscan

 

 

April                 The Frog  - Loscan (Rana temporaria)

 

The common frog is the most wide spread of our amphibians and is hound in all part if the country from suburban gardens and lowland farmland to mountain bog and forest plantations. It is an adaptable animal and will breed in all types of water bodies.

The colour of the common frog varies, from pale yellow to dark purple. The underside is usually paler and sometimes speckled. The adult from can measure from 60-80 mm in length.

 

Sent in to Notice Nature by Lisa Doyle, from South Tipperary

Frogs become active in late January or early February when makes call from the breeding ponds to attract females. When the females arrive they are grasped by the waiting makes in a hold known as the amplexus.

 

The females carried the male around in this piggy back style and, as she lays her eggs , the male emits a stream of sperm, which fertilises them. The eggs are laid in the pond and rapidly develop in to tadpoles, which feed mostly on microscopic algae.

 

Small frog with ceramic friend, sent in by Charlie Eastwood

 

With in a couple of months, the tadpoles metamorphose in to juvenile frogs, gradually developing legs and loosing their fish like tail. Juvenile frogs spend one or two years on land feeding and growing before reaching sexual maturity.

 

However few frogs survive to this stage. Less than half of the spawning sites are able to support tadpoles to metamorphosis, and in the sites that are suitable, predation and food shortages may account for a large proportion of the development tadpoles. Predation of juveniles on land and of adult frogs by otters, foxes and herons can also have a significant impact on survival rates. However, adult frogs can live for seven or eight years and female frogs can lay several thousand eggs in a lifetime. 

 

The common frog is listed in the Red Data Book and is protected in Ireland under the Wildlife Act (1976 and 2000). Under this legislation a licence is required to take frogs from the wild or to disturb their habitat.

 

  

Fun facts

Frogs can breath through their skin as well as their lungs and can take oxygen from water, however they must come on to land to eat!
©2007 Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government