Readers’ wildlife photos: frogs in lust

December 22, 2011 • 11:01 am

Andrew Sinnott has contributed a pair of lovely frogs, along with the story:

I thought I’d appeal to your amphibian soft spot in submitting this photo for consideration for the website. It’s a pair of Smilisca cyanosticta (blue spotted tree frog I think is the common name) in amplexus [JAC: “amplexus” is the grasping of a female by a male amphibian just before spawning] that I shot in Belize in the summer of 2009.

I was there as a research assistant for the University of Manchester studying Agalychnis moreletii and Agalychnis callidryas and for all sorts of reasons it was really hit and miss if we saw more than a handful of either species, let alone any other, but this night was like a goldmine for an amateur herper! On this six foot wide, four foot high bush overhanging the pond there were maybe eighty frogs, of I think six different species. At one point a colleague held up a two foot twig that had six or seven moreletii males clambering over each other to get to the nearest female.

I snapped a ton of shots and was lucky enough to get this one with my cheap kit lens and flash gun I got for £20 on ebay. I’m particularly proud of it because it’s a shot of natural behaviour that isn’t staged in any way. I haven’t been back to Belize (or any other rainforest for that matter!) but that that trip was one of the best experiences of my life so far.

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos: frogs in lust

  1. Great photo and story! Envy.

    Most frogs don’t copulate. Fertilization is exterior, call it spawning. Among Anurans only Ascaphus has copulation and internal fertilization.

  2. Great shot! It is human habit to anthropomorphize, but judging from their eyes, they both seem a little bored by the whole thing 🙂

      1. The mating season here in Thailand (the green season is June-October) is very loud and the amphibians look very excited to me. Now during the dry season many amphibians go underground, although I still stumble over toads (Bufo melanosticta) in the dark.


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