First frog!

grey treefrog Hyla versicolor or Hyla chrysoscelis on fencepostOkay, it’s hardly the first frog of the year, but it is my first treefrog; making that distinction would have ruined the aesthetic perfection of the title. I consider it significant that this one was found in almost the exact same location as the first one spotted when we moved into the house eleven months ago (I was too busy to post at the time of the first sighting,) so I’m going to rashly assume it’s the same one. Maybe at some point I’ll sit down with the photos from both times and see how closely the markings will match up.

This is either a common grey treefrog (Hyla versicolor) or the rarer Copes grey treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis) – the only way available to me to distinguish them is their call, which I have yet to hear. We’re due for some rain Wednesday night while it remains reasonably warm, so I may get to hear it then.

This one didn’t move a muscle while I loomed in with the camera, allowing me some extreme closeups. Its location was in varying light, mostly shaded but exposed through the leaves at the time I was doing the shots. The first image was with natural light, but the next two were with the flash, which still didn’t prompt any response. It occurs to me that if anyone made a really realistic-looking toy treefrog they could keep me busy for hours…

grey treefrog Hyla versicolor or Hyla chrysoscelis in closeup
You have to agree (you have no choice, believe me) that grey treefrogs are not the most chipper looking of species – these images are not likely to inspire feelings of cheer or optimism. However, I am more than willing to sell a few big prints to teachers with classrooms full of hyperactive students, to see if this morose amphibian peering down has any effect. I bet it would work for psychologists’ offices too, especially for the doctors that get kickbacks from Prozac prescriptions…

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Really close. Don’t get confused – I went around to the other side for this photo, shooting along the edge of the post behind the frog, so now we’re looking at the right eye, and this is a tighter crop of the full frame. But – seriously, is the cornea wrinkled? Dude – close your eyes, that can’t be good.

newborn Chinese praying mantis Tenodera aridifolia sinensis on pieris plant While I’m posting, I figured I’d feature another newborn mantis, this one on The Girlfriend’s new pieris plant where it will be encouraged to stay – both because it should be a good source of food critters and because it’s a smaller plant and I can find the mantis again easily. We will, naturally, see if this works, but I did notice today that the other one from last week is still hanging out on the Japanese maple tree, so perhaps this is a well-behaved brood.

To the best of my knowledge, these are both Chinese praying mantises (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis) – I’ve only found one other species in the area and then rarely, so we’ll go with this for now. I did not get a precise measurement but I’m guesstimating about 10mm in length – still quite small. This one was very aware of my presence and was avoiding any portrait angles, and I didn’t want to spook it off the plant so I didn’t make too much of a pest of myself. I’ll have to see if I can find some aphids and bring it a peace offering.

newborn Chinese praying mantis Tenodera aridifolia sinensis on pieris plant
Don’t blame me – I did not put that kink in the antenna. Probably got shut in a door…

newborn Chinese praying mantis Tenodera aridifolia sinensis on pieris plant
This is the closest I got to a face shot, when I switched to the other side of the plant – the foliage prevented me from getting any lower. Don’t worry, I’ll get those images eventually.

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