Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Nature Notebook – The Turquoiose-Blue Green Frog

THE TURQUOISE-BLUE GREEN FROG
By: Cliff Bennett

On June 28, I received a call from MVFN member Holly Francis of Carleton Place. Holly was walking off the unmaintained end of the 5th Line of Ramsay and came upon a turquoise frog in a mud puddle in the middle of the road. She wanted me to ID it but frogs were not my forte. I replied I would try and get her some information on her discovery.

The next day, when Holly was back in the same area, she came upon another of these curious specimen. This time, she captured it and took it home, from whence she called me again, this time triumphantly telling me of her conquest.

The next day, I drove to Carleton Place to see this wonder and, sure enough, it was a bright turquoise colour. I took the frog away and drove to Jim Bendell’s residence above Clayton. If anyone could explain this marvel, he could.

Arriving at Jim’s home, he picked it out of the bucket I had it in and exclaimed he too had never seen such an animal before. We looked through all of his reference books and concluded it had to be either a mink frog or a green frog, with some strange variant. Jim gave me two authoritative sources to call.

I took the frog home and jumped on the phone. The first call was to Dr. Fred Schuiler of the Bio Diversity Museum at Kemptville, an authority on amphibians. He immediately identified the animal as a green frog, but with no yellow pigment in its skin. This variant is quite rare; about once a year someone shows up at the museum with one and he personally sees one about every two and one half years. The other source, Dr. Cook from Carleton University confirmed the assessment and suggested getting it’s picture so he could have a copy.

Now getting a picture of this very active, slippery specimen is not that easy, as Dr. Cook agreed. So he offered a solution. Place the frog in a plastic bag with holes in it and put it in the refrigerator for about one hour. This I did and sure enough, he came out looking like he needed a scarf around his neck.

I placed the frog on a sheet of white paper and he dutifully posed while I snapped several shots from different angles. Then I placed him back in his bucket in the garage and fed him some garden worms.

I was instructed to take him back to Holly the next day, to have her replace him in the same puddle he came from. Alas, when I went to check on him the next morning, he was gone. I searched the garage but couldn’t find him. Somewhere in my forest is a turquoise coloured green frog.