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First Herp Trip of the 2007 Season

Thanks to an invitation from Scott Albert, my first official herp trip of the 2007 spring season was targeted at two little frogs that reside in southern Missouri and southern Illinois.  Scott had already done the work of tracking down populations of these frogs so all I had to do is show up and reap the benefits of his hard work.

I met Scott and Brian Willy, both students at Southern Illinois University, just as it was getting dark in a little southern Illinois town.  Soon after saying hello we were in transit to a nearby pond where Scott had observed these frogs just days earlier.  As soon as we were within earshot I herd the unmistakable high pitched peeping of the Illinois chorus frog, my number one target for the trip.  Along with the Illinois chorus frogs, spring peepers and upland chorus frogs were also calling; the latter of which was my second target.  We dawned our hip boots, readied our cameras, and were at the ponds edge in no time.  Upon our arrival, the full chorus came to an abrupt stop but it didn’t take too long for a lone brave, or maybe foolish, individual to start up again, in turn, encouraging all the other frogs to accept our presence and begin calling.  The full chorus was almost defining but at the same time quite beautiful.

The Illinois chorus frog is a fossoral resident of sand prairies that were deposited by the Mississippi River millions of years ago.  The vast majority of these prairies having been developed into agricultural lands leaving the Illinois chorus frog hanging on to existence in only a few small localities.


Illinois chorus frog




In amplexus


Upland chorus frog