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Voracity Of The Alligator Frog

If we have bestowed the names of alligator gar and alligator terrapin as an indication of the size, strength, and voracity of certain animals, there is similar propriety in proposing the name of "alligator frog" for a recently discovered species from the Southeastern States. In fact, the frog is entitled to such a designation for still further reasons. It not only lives in fairly close association with the alligator, but it also has a voice strangely similar to that huge reptile's. Rana heckscheri did not receive its technical name from Wright until 1924, and so far it has gone without a common name.

If we have bestowed the names of alligator gar and alligator terrapin as an indication of the size, strength, and voracity of certain animals, there is similar propriety in proposing the name of "alligator frog" for a recently discovered species from the Southeastern States. In fact, the frog is entitled to such a designation for still further reasons. It not only lives in fairly close association with the alligator, but it also has a voice strangely similar to that huge reptile's. Rana heckscheri did not receive its technical name from Wright until 1924, and so far it has gone without a common name. It is exceeded in size by probably only one North American member of its genus—the common bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana.

An average-size specimen is a little over four inches in length and weighs about three-eighths of a pound. The upper parts of this noteworthy frog have a soft brown ground color, approximating that of dead leaves; they also bear numerous blackish spots and blotches, these being especially large and distinct on the outer side of the legs. Some individuals are heavily marked below with a brownish slaty hue on a white ground, while others have little of this mottling. Both front and hind limbs have a conspicuously robust development. The frog's large and placid eyes, according well with its confiding or unsuspecting temperament, are its most attractive feature. With these protruding, laterally- directed orbs, which give it a divergent vision, it regards the world about it with a quiet, unwavering gaze. The iris suggests a ring of burnished bronze with a thin golden inner rim.

The alligator frog lives in southern Georgia and northern Florida, where it is distinctly a species of the rivers and creeks, haunting wooded swamps along their edges. It loves waters with a gentle current, generally shunning those that are still or have an imperceptible flow. Thus they have been found on practically all sides of Okefinokee Swamp—in the St. Mary's River on the south and east, and in Suwannee Creek on the northwest—but it has never been observed in the quiet waters of the Okefinokee itself. Suwannee Lake—merely a slight expansion of Suwannee Creek—is an incomparably fine place for studying the rather remarkable habits of the adult frogs. Despite its close relationship to such a decidedly aquatic species as the common bullfrog, the alligator frog is not only largely terrestrial, but even semi-arboreal to an extent probably unknown in any other North American species of the genus Rana. Though it has never been observed more than a few feet distant from the water's edge, it habitually spends the daylight hours on some elevated perchHealth Fitness Articles, generally from one to three feet above the water.

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