I braved the bitterly bracing cold, so gusty that I had to walk backwards for about a block in order to breathe, to hear about these frogs that had been hiding in plain sight. I forced a lot of my nerdy frog facts onto others in the days after the lecture, so here are some highlights for posterity:
- Frogs don’t have regional accents in their croaking, unlike birds.
- Individual appearances can vary more within the same species than between species of frogs, when selecting random specimens. This is called a cryptic species.
- Extirpation is a possibility for this frog on Staten Island, where it was discovered.
- The man, Carl Kauffeld, who originally discovered this species couldn’t even correctly identify all of his specimens correctly as part of this species. That’s how confounding identification was before genetics and bioacoustics.
- Herpetologist is a fun, funny word.
Here’s hoping in this densely packed urban corridor that this frog, which needs ample space and specific marshy habitats, can make a successful stand. This story has reminded me that the coolest nature can be found in and around cities. It’s our job to help out, so that these impressive survivors can do more than just eke out an existence.