edible frog (Pelophylax esculentus) First described in 1758, it is a fertile hybrid of two other European frogs, Pool's Rana and the marsh frog, which originated when the two frogs became isolated in the ice age.

They are frogs that never leave the water, so their scientific name is made up of "mud" and guardian. Found throughout Europe, it is also known as the common water frog or green frog and its popular name is due to the fact that in France it is a culinary delicacy, especially for its legs.

Closeup of an edible frog
Close-up of an edible frog.

Features

The edible frog is A wild animal that belongs to the amphibians. It is medium in size that grows to about 9 cm long, with the females being larger than the males at about 12 cm long. When they are adults they are green with light brown spots on their back, yellow eyes, white underside and covered with some dark spots.

Males are distinct from females, having vocal sacs on their cheeks and additional patches of skin on their feet primarily used in mating. During the mating stage the males become much lighter and greener to impress the females.

It is one of the few species in the world that is a mixture between two different species, normally it is very rare that its young can reproduce. The kl. of its scientific name indicates that the species is composed of chromosomes that have been acquired from other species, its other part of the scientific name esculentus comes from the Latin word for consumable.

Behavior

Unlike the other amphibians, the edible frog are diurnal animals so she is more active during the day. It is the only time they get away from the water, as they spend it looking for food.

It is a solitary animal and they spend much of their time sitting motionless on the muddy banks thanks to their camouflaging skin, although during the breeding season many groups are often seen together competing with each other for a female.

In winter they move to the land to hibernate and be able to withstand the cold.

Edible frog sitting on a nymph leaf
Edible frog sitting on a nymph leaf.

Habitat

Edible frogs spend most of their time in or near water, in the quieter parts of rivers and streams. Some scientists say that they prefer the quieter and more open places and therefore can also be seen around lakes, ponds and swamps.

They inhabit the regions of central Europe (North of Germany and Estonia), Croatia, the north of Italy and the south of France. There are also isolated populations, believed to have emigrated from their neighboring countries in Sweden and Bulgaria.

Food

Adult edible frogs are only carnivorous animals feeding on small invertebrates like insects, Spiders, moths y flies. They also consume aquatic animals as well as in fish, newts and other frogs. However, in their stage as tadpoles they are omnivores eating vegetables and aquatic microorganisms.

They hunt for food during the day, either in the water or on land. There are reports that some frogs go 500 meters away from the water in search of food.

Predators

Being very still between mud and their skin allows them a great camouflage that makes them invisible against predators. In the water, their body remains hidden, while their eyes placed on the top of their head make them see danger by quickly diving into the water or jumping quickly if they perceive danger. If caught they will emit a loud screech.

Their main predators are owls, snakes and waterfowl, together with humans who catch them to eat them or destroy their habitat.

Reproduction

The breeding season begins in March and lasts for a couple of months. Males attract females by singing using their vocal sacs to produce as watery a sound as possible, as females are attracted to the loudest male possible. After courtship the female lays up to 10.000 eggs in a sticky mass before the male fertilizes them.

Upon hatching, the tadpoles are about 0,50 cm long gray / brown in color, and grow to about 7 cm before metamorphosis begins and emerge from water as young frogs measuring 2 cm long. They reach sexual maturity in two years and can live up to 15 years.

State of conservation

Edible frog populations are included in the list of species of least concern for extinction in the near future. They are threatened due to the destruction of their habitat caused by deforestation and especially their permeable skin that absorbs more water pollution.

They are also threatened by humans, especially in France where their legs are often a national dish. It is not known why only this species is consumed, but it is believed that it is because they are more numerous. However, despite continuing to be one of the most abundant frogs, it is a species that is under threat as more lands where they live are manipulated.

But they are adaptable animals, being able to survive in other waters as long as there is abundant food and little competition from other species.

List of other interesting animals