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It-takes-two-toads-to-tango Tuesday

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‘Twas on Tuesday last that the previous afternoon’s rain had created a little pool in an otherwise still drought-dry tributary of Bull Creek that runs through Great Hills Park. I looked down at the shallow water and noticed a toad completely submerged. When the toad came out onto a dry portion of the creek bed, it revealed itself to be they, and in flagrante delicto, at that. Here’s what the Encyclopedia Britannica has to say on the subject: “In the sexual embrace, called amplexus, the male toad clasps the female from behind. The pair swims about as the female, swollen with eggs, selects a site for depositing them. As several thousand eggs are expelled from the female’s body in jelly-like strings, the male fertilizes them with sperm.” I saw no eggs, so perhaps things hadn’t gotten to that point yet.

I’m assuming this delictual duo was in fact toads, because when I searched online I found articles saying that frogs have smooth skin and toads have warty skin, which you can see these two certainly did. I also learned that toads move with short hops, rather than the long ones that frogs often take, and that also matched what I observed. Numerically minded me further found out that frogs and toads have four digits on their front feet but five on their hind feet. Wouldn’t they be more balanced if they had four and a half on each foot?

Photographically speaking, notice how the catchlight in the toads’ eyes mirrors the shape of the bulbs in my ring light flash. When processing the photograph I originally removed those reflections, but then the toads’ eyes seemed too dull, so upon further reflection I put the reflection back in.

Speaking of which, here’s a quotation for today, from Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Man:

Remembrance and reflection how allied!
What thin partitions sense from thought divide!”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 11, 2020 at 4:41 AM

Posted in nature photography

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