Today I did some hiking at Waterloo State Recreation Area north of Chelsea, Michigan. While on the Hickory Hills Trail I stopped for a while at the edge of Crooked Lake just to wait and watch. My patience was rewarded when I noticed a number of these northern green frogs (Rana clamitans melanota or melanotus, Ranidae).
The frogs shown here were much darker than those found elsewhere. Despite the name, green frogs have a variable coloration dependent on local conditions. While these frogs were rather drab, some exhibit rather bright and colorful green and dark patterns. Although these individuals lacked that flair, they still exhibited the characteristic dark green shade around the head, bright green streaks under the eyes, skin folds down the back, and black “tiger stripes” on the legs.
Within a few weeks freezing temperatures will be upon us and these frogs will seek shelter in the mud. They overwinter and hibernate under leaves and stones in the soil.