Skip to content

A Luminescent Florida Leopard Frog (And a Few Fairy Frogs)

Hand in hand, with fairy grace, Will we sing, and bless this place. —William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

As we hiked the Apoxee Trail in the Grassy Waters Preserve, it was often flooded — pictures forthcoming, because wading through 4-6 inches of swamp / marsh waters in the Florida Everglades is always an adventure! My most worried comment, 2 hours into the trail: “Errr, it appears as though these waters are now even with the swamp.”

But everywhere I looked, itsy-bitsy cricket frogs were jumping about the trail, and these lovelies were hiding in the vegetation and waters. He’s a Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala), common to the marshes, swamps, and cypress swamps of our area. The frogs range from dark brown to bright green. Apparently, the existence of a subspecies — the Florida Leopard Frog (Rana utricularia sphenocephala) — is debated among the experts.

Their colors are pure brilliance, with luminescent greens flashing here and there. There were so many frogs I wanted to photograph, but it was tricky nabbing them as they leapt into the waters or darted into the undergrowth. Just magical. So naturally I had to include one of my favorite children’s illustrators — Ida Rentoul Outhwaite — and her more famous images of frogs and fairies.

Nature’s colors, intensity, and variations continue to amaze — may your weekend be equally as spectacular and magical as this brilliant but diminutive frog!

Florida Leopard Frog: Hello, lovely… Please don’t jump

Florida Leopard Frog: Ready to dart. Those colors, pure amazement…

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, “Frog and Fairy Talking”

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, “They stood full in front of her….”

37 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’d love to cross paths with these little ones!
    Such remarkable photographs you took!! Interesting, educational commentary, too! Thanks for sharing!!!

    July 13, 2012
    • Aw, thanks so much! I’m glad you love them as much as I do… They’re so adorable — I love frogs, but these bright little guys in the swamp are a sight to behold. 🙂

      July 13, 2012
  2. My daughter has a special affinity for frogs. When she was little, she would walk around the neighborhood catching them; then she’d release them into our yard so that we would have more frog life! Amazing animals (frogs AND kids)! ❤

    July 13, 2012
    • Hahahah — I love it! That’s wonderful… I adore frogs, their variations and colors continue to delight. I see them glued to our little home, and I scream like a banshee. They’re amazing little creatures. 🙂

      July 14, 2012
  3. I really enjoy reading your blog!
    I nominated you for 3 awards
    http://bookscupcakescats.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/awards-and-red-white-and-blue-treats/

    July 13, 2012
    • CONGRATS, and so many thanks for the nomination! I always love visiting your beautiful blog… And I can’t wait to investigate your other noms! Thanks again, from one (crazy??) cat person to another. 🙂

      July 14, 2012
  4. Great frog images.:)

    July 13, 2012
    • Thanks so much! He was tricky to nab… Getting swamp-level before he hopped away. 🙂

      July 14, 2012
  5. Gives the word “sloe-eyed” a whole new meaning. Awesome pictures! You are quick on the draw!

    July 13, 2012
    • Hee, thanks!!! He was VERY tricky to capture… Had to get swamp-level, before he hopped away. But he was just sooooo unique and pretty. 🙂

      July 14, 2012
  6. Val #

    that’s an impressive looking frog! We have a lot of frogs here as we have a pond with no fish, so they thrive, but not this type of frog. Interesting to see and lovely photos, thank you. 🙂

    July 13, 2012
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this little guy as much as I did! I love frogs — their variety, their colors, and their critical role in various ecosystems. When I see one glued to our little home, I scream like a banshee, I’m always so excited!! 🙂

      July 14, 2012
  7. narhvalur #

    I love children’s books involved with animals, we in Sweden have Elsa Beskow , one fanatastic animal-man lover!

    July 14, 2012
    • Your area has some AMAZING illustrators featuring children and animals… from centuries past to now! Conservationists and artists alike, I’m so jealous!

      July 14, 2012
  8. Those are very pretty little fellows!

    July 15, 2012
    • Isn’t he amazing? I love his colors; I was so happy to nab him before he darted into the undergrowth…

      July 15, 2012
  9. This frog is really cool ! I haven’t seen a southern leopard frog before, but a northern one. Love this nature photos. I have a frog living in my little pond and he croaks all day long – hiding so I can never seen him. 😦

    July 15, 2012
    • Isn’t he adorable? I had never seen one, on any of our hikes — probably just chance, or lack of waters (we usually try to hike in the winter down here, which means less swampy waters). I love his colors!

      It’s amazing the sounds that can come out of the tiniest frogs… We have bullfrogs, and the NOISE! Wow. But the pig frogs sound JUST like grunting gators, and you have to pause to really get your bearings — because like you said, you can never see either one! Tricky little things!

      July 15, 2012
      • Pig frogs…??? Really? Sounds like an oxymoron! LOL

        July 15, 2012
      • I just realized I have a rare picture of a pig frog (well, for me — I never actually SEE them!). I’ll post this sneaky, bellowing little fellow soon!

        July 15, 2012
      • Awesome ! Can’t wait!

        July 15, 2012
  10. The picture(s) following the two frog photographs came as a surprise, but a good one. Now if you just had a photograph rather than an illustration of the fairy ….

    Steve Schwartzman
    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com

    July 15, 2012
  11. Great post! I can never get enough frogs!

    July 16, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I’m with you on the frogs. 🙂

      July 16, 2012
  12. I think it is totally amazing how in nature creatures are endowed with such lovely flourescent, luminescent coloring whether insect wings, fireflies, sea creatures in phosphorescent bay, fish or humble frogs!! This one already looks like a prince!! Hardly seems fair we have to use body paint of some sort to glow in the dark!!

    July 17, 2012
    • SO true! Their colors are simply magical; there’s obviously a reason for it, carefully developed over years of evolution — but I’ll enjoy it for what it is. And when I see them alight along the path of our hikes, I’ll promptly drop in the mud to get a closer look and (hopeful) shot. 🙂

      July 18, 2012
  13. Nice photos. I also LOVE the fairytale pictures in this post.

    July 17, 2012
    • Thanks so much! I can’t resist linking some of these guys to the classic fairytale images — they seem to pop right out of the stories, themselves. ♥

      July 18, 2012
  14. Always so nice how you tie facts together with fantasy. AAAAAAAAAAAAnd the pictures – as aways – way above standard greatness..

    July 17, 2012
    • You’re so kind!! Thanks so very much. I couldn’t resist tying these guys to the classic fairytale froggies — their colors are just magical. ♥

      July 18, 2012
  15. Another lovely frog. I haven’t seen any frogs since I was a child, sadly. I have heard them croking in a few marshy places, but I’ve not seen any.

    July 26, 2012
    • Aren’t his colors spectacular? I was so thrilled to spy him (although I can’t take the credit, honestly, for finding him)… But you’re right! They’re usually impossible to find! HEAR them, yes…

      July 26, 2012
  16. Pam #

    Precious!

    July 28, 2012
    • I was so thrilled that we spotted these guys on (yet another) soggy hike… And was able to nab one before he jumped away! I love their colors…

      July 30, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: