Whenever I’m at Inniswood Metro Gardens, I stop by to see what’s happening in this tiny, municipal wetland. And right now, tadpoles are what’s happening.
These two, very different types of tadpoles were co-existing in the pond. I wonder if they are different species of frog, or the same species born at different times?
Let’s take a look at some prospective parents.
The happy threesome above are Eastern American Toads. You can distinguish toads from frogs because the skin of the toad tends to be “warty.” A toad also has a large bump on each side of its body, either on its head or over its shoulders. Let’s look at another Eastern American Toad.
These two bumps are the toad’s parotoid glands. If an animal grabs this toad, it will secrete a milky neurotoxin from these bumps to prompt the animal to let it go.
Frogs aren’t lucky enough to have parotoid glands.
Besides these toads, I’ve seen two species of frogs in this pond: the American Bullfrog and the Northern Green Frog. To distinguish between these species, you just have to note whether there are ridges down the sides of the frog’s back. If there are such ridges, it’s a Northern Green Frog, If there aren’t any ridges on the back, it’s an American Bullfrog. Let’s do a side by side comparison.
The above bullfrog does have a ridge like structure around its ear, but that doesn’t count. To be a Northern Green Frog, the ridges have to go down the back.
Just for fun, I’m going to post a few more photos, so you can decide for yourself whether you’re seeing an American Bullfrog, a Northern Green Frog, or an Eastern American Toad (or somewhat shorter: a bullfrog, a green frog, or a toad). I’ll label each photo with an identifying letter, then in a day or two I’ll post a comment saying which species I think each is (the answers have already posted in this comment).
Besides seeing frogs, toads, and tadpoles, I’ve also seen a lot of amphibian eggs. There may be those who can determine the species from the eggs, but I’m not among them.
If you would like to learn more about frogs and toads, check out my post, Ohio’s 15 species of frogs and toads at a glance. And if you prefer nature in a drier form, I’ve published another article that’s a pictorial guide to the wildflowers found in this park. It’s called, Common Spring Wildflowers in Ohio.