Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog

The stars seem all aligned for a blog on frogs this morning. We have Dave and Bonnie Kenison staying with us, in Redlands for the wedding reception of their daughter. In their honor, as well as in honor of Andrew coming home for the weekend, we are going to have frog legs for lunch. They are thawing on the counter. Then I opened The Press-Enterprise this morning and on the front page is an article, "Clinging To Survival," all about the captive breeding of mountain yellow-legged frogs, a highly endangered species in our Southern California mountains.

Several years ago, there were believed to be only 122 mountain yellow-legged frogs left in their Southern California habitat in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains. A number of frogs were caught, in addition to tadpoles, and are being raised by the San Diego Zoo in hopes to be able to reintroduce them into the mountains again someday. Then, just recently, several of the wild frogs were seen in the San Jacinto Mountains, the first ones seen there in 50 years.

This article reminded me of my first trip to the Sierras in 1993. We were on the backside of Mount Whitney, above Guitar Lake, at a small stream at about 11,550 feet in elevation. We were getting water for our final ascent of Mount Whitney. See Kirk Thompson, Matt Cannon and Brian Lenhof below, near the stream on the flank of Mount Whitney.
There Peter Walker caught a mountain yellow-legged frog, the only one I've ever seen.

It was a reddish-brown above, with dark spots.

The underside of its legs and belly were yellow.

The mountain yellow-legged frog is the only frog in the high Sierras of California. The only other place it is found is in the three above-named mountain ranges in Southern California. I'm not sure how it is doing in the Sierras, but I assume they are struggling as are most frog species world-wide. I feel privileged to have seen one and hope to have that privilege again sometime in our local mountains.

1 comment:

  1. Only YOU would see an alignment of stars for a blogpost on FROGS.