Surfing The Wierd

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Amphibians - Barking Frogs -

There Is So A Barking Frog !

When I was a teeny bopper I often spent summers and even one school year with my maternal grandparents on a farm in the hill country in the Edwards Plateau region near Sparta, Texas. The farm was owned by one of my uncles; when the rivers were to be dammed and a lake created, the farm would be flooded but its boundries became lake front property. Uncle Rodgers sold the property to developers and made a tidy profit. He then purchased another farm in the western hill country near Sabinal, Texas and gave my grandparents life estate on it. This series of events occasioned a wall eyed hissy fit by my mother. Several years earlier she had been bugging my father to sell our home in Corpus Christi and move to the hill country where two of her brothers lived. According to her, my father agreed. She located the Sparta farm across the mountain from Uncle Cleo and Uncle Devillar's farms near Bland. My father balked and refused to follow through with the deal so Uncle Rodgers purchased the farm instead and gave it to my grandparents. Mother threw a fit over my father's failure to buy the farm but the fit was nothing compared to the one she threw when her brother made such a profit on it. Mother wailed, "We could have made that money!" I loved the Sabinal farm but not as much as I adored the Sparta farm. I was just a teeny bopper then but would go horseback riding or take the .22 rifle and Jeep dog and roam the cedar breaks and mountains all day. I had many interesting adventures there and I loved being with my grandmother. There was a small creek that meandered down the hill toward the cattle guard. A large tree stood beside the creek and periodic floods had hollowed out a cavity under the roots. I was attracted to it by the sound of a dog barking that seemed to come from the cavity. To my astonishment the bark was being emitted by a frog. I squatted there watching him and puzzling over a frog making a barking sound instead of a croak. I had played with frogs and toads all my life but I was wary about this unusual frog. I longed to capture this odd specimen but felt unease about touching him. I was country reared and had sense enough to be cautious about creatures of which I knew nothing. I dashed back to the farmhouse and excitedly announced my discovery of the barking frog. My grandparents had never heard of such a critter so my youngest uncle and a couple of cousins accompanied me to the creek to see this marvel. The blasted frog was gone and I took a lot of ribbing for claiming a frog barked. Over the years I asked various people if they knew of a frog that barked and all I got was laughter. No one believed me; they didn't think that I lied but thought my imagination had gone wild. Not even Uncle Oscar knew of such a frog and I thought he knew everything. All of my uncles were well educated and very intelligent but Uncle Oscar had a broader range of knowledge on practically every subject I could broach. For over 60 years I puzzled over the barking frog. I KNEW that I was not mistaken in what I had seen and heard. I KNEW that frog barked! It is my habit since acquiring a computer to spend many hours researching various subjects that interests me. One night I recalled the frog and did a search on barking frogs. I was surprised and delighted to pull up the following sites. Parts of Texas were once covered by the sea and the Llano uplift is composed of limestone with many caves and cavities of different sizes, ideal habitat for the creatures. There IS a barking frog! My barking frog was fatter and seemed larger than the pictured ones but it is the same frog. So fie on all you scoffers. I did not imagine it. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Image:Eleutherodactylus marnockii.jpg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Image:Eleutherodactylus marnockii.jpg Eleutherodactylus_marnockii.jpg (juvenile)‎ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_barking_frog

Eleutherodactylus augusti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Redirected from Eastern Barking Frog)
Eastern Barking Frog
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Lissamphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Superfamily: Hyloidea
Family: Leptodactylidae
Subfamily: Eleutherodactylinae
Genus: Eleutherodactylus
Species: E. augusti
Binomial name
Eleutherodactylus augusti Dugès, 1879
Synonyms

Lithodytes latrans Hylodes augusti Hylactophryne augusti Eleutherodactylus latrans

The Eastern Barking Frog (Eleutherodactylus augusti) is a small Leptodactylid frog found in the southern United States in the states of Texas and New Mexico, with disjunct populations in Arizona and northwestern Mexico. It is called the barking frog because its call sounds like the barking of a small dog. The epithet augusti is in honor of renown French zoologist Auguste Duméril.[1]

External links

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Barking Frog Photo

Eleutherodactylus augusti. Photographer: Dr. Carl S. Lieb. Otero Co., NM. 12 August 1991.

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http://museum.utep.edu/chih/theland/animals/amphibians/hylactrophryneaug.htm

Barking Frog

Eleutherodactilus augusti

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Context

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Amphibia Order: Anura Family: Leptodactylidae

Distribution

distribution map

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Nomenclature and Taxonomy

Other common names for this species include Robber Frog, Cliff Frog, and Rock Frog (Wright and Wright, 1949), plus Rana de Bolsa (Liner, 1994). Other scientific names found in zoological literature include Hylodes augusti (before 1920), Eleutherodactylus latrans (used about 1920-1955) and Hylactophryne augusti (in use from ca. 1970-1987). Subspecies occurring in the Chihuahuan Desert Region are Eleutherodactylus augusti latrans (Common name: "Eastern Barking Frog") for Texas and New Mexico populations, and E. a. fuscofemora ("Zweifel's Barking Frog") for populations near Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila.

Physical Characteristics:

Males reach 70 mm in head-body length, females are larger, to 94 mm (Zweifel, 1967). Overall dorsal coloration varies from dark brown to pale gray, with darker circular spots or markings often present. Yellowish suffusions occasionally evident on the back, limbs, and face of large individuals. Ventral surface is uniformly light, with a circular skin fold (ventral disc) extending from the axillary to inguinal region. The forearms are robust, the outer fingers elongate, the tips of the toes somewhat club-like, and the soles and palms are equipped with numerous tubercles. Juveniles are dark gray or gray-green, with have a pronounced light band across the back of the torso.

Geographic Range:

Widely distributed in central and montane Mexico, Barking Frogs are found in the United States primarily in the Edwards Plateau region and in and near the Pecos River Valley of Texas and southeastern New Mexico. They are also known to occur in the Santa Rita and Pajarito mountains of southeastern Arizona. The Chihuahuan Desert Region distribution includes a population in southern Otero County, New Mexico, scattered populations along the northern Pecos River of Texas and New Mexico, and several populations in northern and central Coahuila (e.g., Cuatro Cienegas region). The species also has an extensive distribution in foothill and montane habitats along the southern margin of the Chihuahuan Desert region of Durango, southern Coahuila, and Nuevo Leóon, and it is probably also widespread in the Saladan Desert province of San Luis Potosái and Zacatecas, just south of the Chihuahuan Desert region proper.

Habitat

This primarily subtropical and premontane species requires rocky habitats with deep fissures that provide ready access to permanently moist, subterranean microhabitats. Rocky limestone, especially karst, or igneous topography in combination with a high water table is the typical setting; surface vegetation in areas supporting these frogs includes such extremes as Chihuahuan Desert scrub, subtropical deciduous forest, oak-juniper woodlands, and montane pine-oak forest.

Natural History

Known food items include camel crickets and land snails (McAlister, 1954; Olson, 1959); doubtless other invertebrates are opportunistically taken. Male mating vocalizations carry long distances and sound very much like a barking dogs; it is thus possible to hear the frog call in a rural area without realizing the "background noise" is of anuran rather than canine origin. Since these males usually call while hidden deep within crevices of rock outcrops, the sound ventriloquistically bounces off stone faces and makes physical location of the animal particularly challenging (see Wright and Wright, 1949: 372 for a typical field encounter). Several specimens have been collected from caves, but most specimens of barking frogs found in the open were en route to shelter or were females encountered on their way to calling males; seemingly only very humid atmospheric conditions promote such open-air movements.

Reproductive characteristics

As in nearly all other frogs, fertilization is external. Unlike most other temperate zone frogs, however, development is direct: eggs are laid in a moist microhabitat underground (e.g., in damp soil under a rock), the larval stage passed inside the egg, and a small terrestrial "froglet" emerges from the egg rather than an aquatic tadpole (Jameson, 1950; Valett and Jameson, 1961). Timing of reproduction varies in different parts of the range. Jameson (1954) felt that breeding in central Texas took place primarily in April and May, but in more arid parts of the range intense calling activity by males seems to be tied to summer rainy periods (e.g., July).

Conservation Status

Barking Frogs enjoy no special protective status in Texas or New Mexico, although the restricted distribution in the latter state has made its conservation status a continuing concern of its wildlife management authorities. In Arizona, the species is even more restricted in its distribution and completely protected as a State Endangered form. Nevertheless, like other species of amphibians in the Southwest U.S. and Mexico that are dependent upon moist subterranean habitats maintained by groundwater, barking frogs are potentially threatened by excessive down-draws on the water table and/or contamination of aquifers that inevitably come with increased human utilization of such resources.

Remarks

The interesting species has the reputation of being rarely encountered over most of its geographic range. Nevertheless, in undeveloped parts of the Edwards Plateau of central Texas, choruses of these frogs can be heard at many locations--if environmental conditions are appropriate and one can recognize the frog's call for what it is. When conditions are less optimal, the species may be relatively abundant in a region but hard to detect. A series of eight specimens from near Cuatro Cienegas, Coahuila, were taken in mousetraps at night; the frogs were otherwise completely unobserved in the area (Schmidt and Owens, 1944).

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