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Roger Riordan:Miscellaneous photos 1964

Frogs and lizards.

Lizards are moderately common in Australia. They are cold-blooded and need to get warm in the morning before they can become active. They do this by sitting in the sun in an exposed place until their body reaches a satisfactory temperature. Unfortunately roads provide a very tempting place to do this, often with fatal results for the lizards. The lizard shown first is often seen sitting on roads, as in this picture, or on fence posts. The smaller skinks seldom venture far from cover, and usually warm themselves on rocks or tree trunks where they can quickly take cover if they sense danger.

Frogs used to be extremely common in Australia, but in recent years they have been badly hit by the worldwide fungal infection, and also in warmer regions by competition from cane toads. These photos were taken in the Dandenongs, where in spring the water in almost every pond would be teeming with tadpoles, and a few minutes hunting would usually find some frogs.

On one occasion in the early 70's we visited a large pond beside the Princes Highway, west of Stawell, in the evening. It was inhabited by a number of different species of frog, and waves of sound would go round the pond as one species after another would begin calling. The effect was almost magical.

Female frogs are always larger than the males, especially when they are swollen with eggs in the spring. The males call, and the females make their way to one of the males. If they hit it off (and I have no idea how they make their choice) the male climbs on the back of the female, and rides piggyback until the female decides it's time to lay her eggs. Then as the female discharges her eggs into the water the male sprays them with semen to fertilise them. In most species no further effort is taken to care for the young.

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 © Roger Riordan 2004-2018