The Wood Frog Essay

1473 words - 6 pages

Description and Habitat
The wood frog is part of the amphibian family and is nothing short of unique. It can range from 3.5 to 7.6 cm in length. Suggested by the name, it is a frog that is found mainly in wooded areas, lakes, forests and boggy land; however they can just about survive anywhere there is enough water available in the spring for breeding.
The wood frog is the most widely distributed amphibian, mainly dispersed throughout the North American region, indicated by the image below. "It is found farther north than any other North American reptile or amphibian, and is the only frog found north of the Arctic Circle. (Conant and Collins, 1998, Kiehl, K. 2000) They range in colours, "usually browns, tans and rust, but can also be found in shades of green and gray. In all cases however, they can be distinguished by a black patch that extends over the tympanum to the base of the front limb". (Kiehl, K. 2000)

Range of Wood frog:

First pic: (Enviornment and Natural Resources 2012)
Second pic:
http://idahoherps.pbworks.com/w/page/8133239/Rana%20sylvatica,%20Wood 20frog

Adaptations to their enviornment
As the wood frogs are ectothermic, one of the major adaptations to their envionment is the adaptation to climate change.
Unlike any other animal, wood frogs have the unique ability to witstand freezing conditions in their habitats during the winter months by undergoing a unique process allowing for 65% of their bodies to freeze. Once the temperatures begin to drop, ice starts to form in the habitat and after just one touch of ice, the wood frog starts to freeze. "Even more incredible is the fact that the wood frogs stop breathing and their hearts stop beating entirely for days to weeks at a time. In fact, during its period of frozen winter hibernation, the frogs’ physical processes—from metabolic activity to waste production—grind to a near halt." (Sirucek, 2013) How is this possible? As the frog is freezing, it floods itself with a sugar (glycogen) which is stored in it's liver and is slowly released thorughout the circulatory system working like an anti-freeze preventing total freezing. Once temperatures start to rise again, the frogs quickly thaw out and come out of hibernation safely. This process gives the wood frog a sustainable competitve advantage over other animals in the habitat who cannot witstand the cold climate and be forced to migrate.

Strategic Capabilities for Survival
Because of the small build of these amphibians, the fear of predators weigh over the wood frog. For the wood frog, the main predators include a variety of birds and snakes. Due to these threats alone, it is essential for wood frogs to exercise many strategies to survive in their habitat. Some of these strategies inclucde:
Camouflage: For wood frogs, camouflage is a primary form of self-defence. Their tan colour allows them to blend in seemlessly into their habitats as they spend a lot of time tucked away in the dirt, amid debris, in...

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