May 31, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Who let the frogs out & why do they sit on my tomatoes?

frog on tomato
Baby frog on tomato in the scientist’s garden.

I don’t study frogs, but they’ve sure been studying bugs in my garden this year.

Every so often and more frequently in summer I post about experiences as a scientist in the garden.

As long-time readers know, I’m a bit obsessed with growing tomatoes. You can see past posts on tomatoes and tips on how to grow great ones here.

I’m going to do a new post on tomatoes soon, but this post is more about frogs.

Why frogs?

I’ve lived in Davis for 13 years and we’ve had an occasional frog in our yard. You see there’s a seasonal pond near our house. While it’s not that close, it apparently is in hopping distance.

But this year, the sheer number of frogs is way beyond anything in the past. These seem to be baby Northern Pacific Tree Frogs. I saw a couple full-grown frogs like these over the winter in the yard so I wonder if they were the parents of some of the scads of babies around now.

Frog on purple tomato
Frog on purple tomato in my garden.

My vegetable beds are hopping with them. I go out to water and all of sudden things are moving. It’s not vertigo. Little frogs are bouncing all around the garden bed. They’re also in the grass in the yard.

I noticed that some of the frogs like to sit on the tomatoes in the garden, making for some funny pictures. Here I’ve attached a few them. Who needs lily pads, right? Maybe the tomatoes are comfy and give the frogs a good view of their surroundings.

Some of the frogs are a few weeks old, but others seem only days old based on their size so they had to have hatched closer to home than at the pond. Maybe their family made a transgenerational journey.frog tomato stool

In the picture at the bottom of the post with the frog on the green tomato, you can see a spider down by the stem. Fortunately, it’s too small to hunt the baby frog. I don’t know about vice versa.

A lot of battles go on amongst the critters in the garden. My yard later in summer has had huge praying mantises though that have hunted bees so those guys might hunt little creatures like these frogs. Fortunately, the mantises I’ve seen so far are very tiny themselves as of June and don’t get big enough to hunt bees until August-September.

frog on tomato 2
Even tinier frog on a tomato.

 

 

Right now there are so many it’s easy to catch them and take a closer look.

We’ll see if some of these frogs hang around and have more babies next year.

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