Common water frogs (Pelophylax esculentus) are widespread in Europe except for southern France, Greece, the Pyrenees, and the Balkans. They live in large, shallow water bodies rich in aquatic plants, avoid fast-flowing rivers and springs, and choose ponds, lake bays, ditches, riverbeds, and pits. The species is quite common in Lithuania. The Lithuanians call it “didžioji kūdrinė varlė”, or great pond frog, due to its size.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the common water frog does not represent a “real” biological species but a hybridogenetic form between the two green frogs, Pelophylax lessonae and Pelophylax ridibundus.
These frogs are olive-green or green, occasionally also brown, 50–90 mm/ 1.9–3.5 inches long, with dark spots which vary in size and number; there are three longitudinal light green stripes on the back.
Being carnivorous, frogs (and toads) destroy a wide variety of invertebrates that harm plants in the garden, fields, orchards, and thus regulate their abundance; they also destroy bloodsucking mosquitos, botflies, blackflies, horseflies, as well as houseflies that spread various diseases and are harmful to humans.
Interesting fact: The French have been eating common water frogs’ legs since the 12th century.
The common water frog’s status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Least concern
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