A-Frogging We Will Go!

Old English nursery rhyme song:

A frog he would a-wooing go,
Heigh ho! says Rowley,
A frog he would a-wooing go,
Whether his mother would let him or no.
With a rowley, powley*, gammon, and spinach,
Heigh ho! says Anthony Rowley.

Like all good nursery rhymes, they all came to a bloody end. Dead, the lot of them, by the end of the rhyme. And they’re for children, of course, so there’s mention of spinach! See all the words here.

Aitch and I enjoyed some lovely frogging outings in our courting days and pre-children days. Sometimes with Barry & Lyn Porter at their three main ‘patches,’ Hella Hella (Game Valley Estates), inland of Port Shepstone (the litchi farm) and Betty’s Bay (which Barry’s father donated to the nation for a nature reserve), but the two of us ‘frogged’ all over the place, filling in data for the frog atlas by ADU at UCT’s Fitztitute. We had a lot of fun doing that. We felt lucky, we had an early GPS.

– me and Barry frogging inland of Port Shepstone on ‘the litchi farm’ –

Top ‘feature’ pic: A red-banded Rubber Frog I caught in me underpants on Malachite Camp – a shortlived venture in Zululand by the Mala Mala crowd. Here’s the frog again, and the tuft he was calling in:

Sonderbroek frogging as sometimes the vlei was quite deep. Whistling catcalls would emanate from the Landrover. That woman!

~~o00o~~

sonderbroek – sans culotte; trousers off

vlei – marsh; wetland

Mini Frogs

Meet Mini mum, Mini scule and Mini ature, Three New Frog Species Among the World’s Smallest.

– look carefully for Mini mum –

Isn’t that beautiful? Found in Madagascar in 2019.

Mark D. Scherz, a Ph.D. candidate at Germany’s Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and Technical University of Braunschweig and lead author of the new study published in PLoS ONE, said in a statement that naming the new genus was a thrill. “I have long wanted there to be pun-named reptile or amphibian species in Madagascar,” he says. “It’s great that we were able to find a funny name that is also informative; Mini is not just amusing, but also an accurate descriptor.” Scherz seems a character. Here’s his tweet announcing the publication:

“Just published in @PLOSONE!! Meet Mini, the newest genus of frogs from Madagascar!! With three new species: Mini mum, Mini scule, and Mini ature, because I am HILARIOUS.”

Read more about them at the Smithsonian mag, at mashable and at mongabay.

According to National Geographic’s Michelle Z. Donahue, the world’s smallest known vertebrate is a frog, Paedophryne amauensis, a Papua New Guinean native measuring an average of 7.7 millimeters long, or around the size of a housefly.

~~~oo0oo~~~

Amphibiphobia?

A Fierce Feathered Dinosaur took um at a Faithful Amiable Amphibian who was just doing his duty recently. The Redwing Dinos were filled with amour and nesting fervour. They had their eye on a spot on my stoep – the Black Flycatcher nest.

But le frog was on duty, determined to put them off.

The male starling pestered him

‘e chest-bumped le frog; who landed with a splash

Undaunted, le frog he say Mon Dieu and went back on duty; whereupon ‘e got attacked from le rear and landed face-down, falling on hard tiles ‘e did, shame. ‘E almost croaked

I picked ‘im up; I patched ‘im up; I gave him le pep talk. So zis time ‘e decide No More le Watchfrog! Zis time ‘e OCCUPIES!

So far so good

~~~oo0oo~~~

Palmiet Night Walk

A few Palmiet Rangers went on a night walk led by herpetologist snake catcher and all-round naturalist Nick Evans. And they saw good stuff:

Meantime I took some pics in my garden lately

And another of our naturalists, Suncana, was busy as ever, spotting new and fascinating things:

While Roger and Rory shot more birds:

~~~oo0oo~~~

This “emperor moth” from Cowies Hill wasn’t. Turns out iNaturalist says it’s a Giant Silkworm Moth. Genus Lobobunaea. Beauty!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Jessie Rescue Act

Once again Jessie rescued some creatures, this time frogs from the pool. Bush squeakers Arthroleptis wahlbergi, a small one and a tiny one. Why they didn’t hop onto or cling to my rafts I have in the pool I don’t know. I assume quite a few creatures do use the rescue rafts and then hop out without us seeing them. Hope so.

Bush Squeaker Arthroleptis wahlbergi (1)

The small one was about tip-of-my-pinky size – adult size for this squeaker – the tiny one about 9mm from tip of nose to tail. The bottom middle pic in the collage is the only one of the tiny chap.

The intrepid rescuer with her friend Lydia from London:

Hluhlu with Lydia 19May2018 (4).jpg

Arthroleptis wahlbergii, the bush squeaker

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forest, subtropical or tropical moist shrubland, plantation edges, rural gardens, urban areas, and heavily degraded former forest. It is found mostly in leaf-litter and rotting vegetation.

The eggs are laid in damp leaf-litter where the young hatch as miniature frogs. The call is a high-pitched squeak, usually emitted during wet weather, which is often mistaken for the calls of crickets.

It is threatened by habitat loss, so please don’t mow your lawns right to the edge and please don’t rake up your leaf-litter! Leave as much of your garden wild and undisturbed as you can. Please.

Creature Comfort

Home Creatures –

He was dead:

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He was found in Jessie’s room:

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On the deck; On the scullery sink:

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On the patio. Jess said “Dad what’s that?” as we got home late one night (brown water snake):

Little Common Brown Water Snake (on 600mm tile)

Away creatures – All at Nambiti game reserve near Ladysmith:

Nambiti (60).jpg

A Whip Around The Garden

I was actually looking for a pregnant chameleon. Didn’t spot her, but snapped flowers, including some non-indigenous interlopers – Aitch was a softie towards the end, and allowed some strange plants in.

Also a (deceased) bush squeaker and a grasshopper – which reminds me: I must tell you the story of grasshoppers one day . . .

– poor Arthroleptis wahlbergi drowned –

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~