Our June Pender Post cover by Frank Ducote, features one of our favourite cover boys, the Pacific Tree Frog. Fittingly, this frog is also properly known as the Pacific Chorus frog. Perhaps that is an alias, but that’s the way things sometimes go in the wonderful world of scientific naming.
These little guys are only about 5 cm. (2 inches) long and cleverly have sticky pads on their feet enabling them to cling to and walk up fronds just like our cover frog is doing. Those sticky footpads also enable them to walk up a glass patio door as one did at our house a few years ago. I was unprepared for this little green frog greeting me at eye level but it was a remarkable opportunity to really look at those sticky footpads . . . if only I had been smart enough to take a picture!
In late winter to early spring, from BC to California, the male Pacific Tree frogs rule the evenings with their chorus of ribit ribit. You have no doubt heard these evening choruses, but did you realize how tiny these noisy critters were? If the size to noise ratio does not impress, wait until the seemingly unstoppable chorus of ribits stops as suddenly and undeniably as if someone pulled the plug on the ribit machine. Not a fade, a resolute and instant silence.
Mosley, the frog on our cover, is not simply a member of a ribit chorus. He happens to be the conductor and it is his job to lead the ensemble, When his group is properly trained, one downward snap of Mosley’s baton brings instant silence to the Pender night. Our cover frog conducts a group of especially well trained Tree Frogs in low-lying wetlands near Magic Lake, but several other similarly skilled Pacific Tree frogs can be found with their batons throughout the Penders.
During its study of the Pacific Tree frog, our Research Department came up with two little known facts about these little frogs. We already knew about the sticky footpads, the variety of colours (green to various combinations of green and brown) and the sudden and total cessation of any portion of the evening concerts. But the Research Department was able to add two interesting and associated facts.
In 2007, the Pacific Tree frog was named the official amphibian of the State of Washington. Wow, what a distinction! What a huge and cherished honour. The related and equally amazing fact was that the State of Washington actually has a State amphibian! Washington threw down the gauntlet in 2007 and, ever since, the other states have been scrambling trying to find their own State amphibian. So far, two states have attempted to name the bizarrely ugly 1964 Amphibicar as their State amphibian. Both applications were declined and both states ridiculed for their lack of understanding of the program.
Before we start feeling superior, let’s remember that Washington State has not once berated BC for its provincial motto, Sine Occasu (Splendour without Diminishment). Even the Latin guys don’t know what that means.