Wildlife: Common water frogs in Lithuania

by Arūnas
Pelophylax kl. esculentus
Common water frogs are widespread in Europe except for the Pyrenees, and the Balkans. The species is quite common in Lithuania. The Lithuanians call it “Didžioji kūdrinė varlė” (great pond frog), due to its size.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the common water frog (Pelophylax esculentus) does not represent a “real” biological species but a hybridogenetic form between the two frogs: pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) and marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibundus). Its conservation status is Least Concern.

These frogs are olive-green or green, occasionally also brown, 50–90 mm/ 1.9–3.5 in long, with dark spots which vary in size and number; there are three longitudinal light green stripes on the back. 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 leads a daytime lifestyle.

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.

Here are several photos of common water frogs I took in Pavilnys Regional Park, in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Common water frog – Pelophylax esculentus
Close-up
Green frog
Back view
Common water frog – Pelophylax esculentus
The lower part of the body of this frog is similar in color to the marsh frog, and the upper part to the pool frog

Although I grew up in the city, I spent most of my summer holidays as a child in the countryside with my grandparents, and nature had become a part of my life. Colorful butterflies, green grasshoppers, frogs, foxes, hawks … I saw them almost every day and was fascinated by the wildlife.

The official English name of the species is the edible frog. I am a vegetarian, so for me, a common water frog is not food, and I would never call it “edible”.

Have you ever seen the animated or artistic movie The Frog Princess? It was one of my favorite childhood fairy tales that I still like to watch sometimes.

I hope you enjoyed my Wildlife: Common water frogs in Lithuania post. If you like nature, here are a few more posts that I recommend you read next:

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