A Hundred Ways to Be a Frog

Sunday, Oct. 24

Here’s what it’s like to follow behind the herpetologists as they work their way down the trail in the early evening.

The sun set an hour ago and the air is starting to lose some of the afternoon’s heat, but your forehead and arms are still damp with a cool film of sweat. The full moon is rising through the trees ahead of you: a bright spot in the canopy that’s not strong enough yet to throw patches of moonlight on the forest floor. Everything in the understory is black, and everything in the midstory is black, and up in the canopy the leaves and branches are black against a night sky that is almost blue.

Photo by Alvaro del Campo

In the upper strata of the forest legions of stridulating insects are making a scritch-scritching chorus; to the right a far-off frog croaks once and falls silent; from the left comes an anxious-sounding hooting; a bat flutters past almost noiselessly, raising a tiny breeze; and ahead on the trail comes the rustling sound of the herpetologists searching through dry leaf litter.

Read full story: New York Times / Science

Kirtland C. Peterson

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