by K. Matsumoto
In Japan. there are many frogs living, we can hear their song and find them on rainy days. in June. Most Japanese have seen them all our lives. About half of them are native to Japan. Schlegel tree frog is one of them. It is one of the popular frog in Japan.
Its name does not seem to be Japanese name. This is because, this frog was described in Europe country by Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold and named by Hermann Schlegel who is zoologist lived in Germany.
Description & Taxonomy
Schlegel tree frog is 3~5.5cm big, and normal its color is green. And it eats bugs. Its ecologies are similar to ecologies of Hyla and Rhacophorus arboreus. Most Japanese would call this frog Hyla.( Rhacophorus arboreus is little minor ) this frog belong the group of Rhacophoridae hyla part of Hylidae. There are many difference between Schlegel tree frog and Hyla. For example, Hyla has the line put ear from muzzle, but, Schlegel tree frog does not.
This frog can change skin color match surrounding. So, if you would find gray or brown or other color frog, it is maybe the Schlegel tree frog.
This frog has clear song, which is not verbalized easily. So, here is a link to the page to hear this frog’s song.
Range & Ecology
The Schlegel tree frog is found only in Japan. They live in Honshu, Sikoku, Kyushu, and Goto -islands. They live near the paddy field, and the forest. In the breeding season, from April to August, they gather at lakes and paddies. They lay eggs under the soil, 200~300 eggs be laid at a time. Sometimes, they lay in the paddy, so ,if you are lucky, you can find their eggs which look like white bubbles. The Asian racoon eats their eggs, if you find disjointing bubble, it is sign of eaten eggs.
Their numbers are decreasing, because of human developing and decreasing their foods. So, in Tokyo, they are recognized as threatened species categorized type 2 in red data book(called VU). In Kochi, they’re not recognized the Red-data,
Use & Conveservation
Sometimes, Schlegel tree frog is bred. You can buy them on the internet. (Note:breeding is not easily, if you don’t have confidence to breed, you should not try.)
Their song makes us feel little cool and so they are a help to us in summer. From the long ago, many Japanese poets composed about frog. For example, famous Haiku poet Basho-Mastuo made this poem :
furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto The old mere! A frog jumping in The sound of water translated by Siki-Masaoka
Many Japanese style poet make many Haiku & Tanka about frogs.
Frogs have an important position in ecosystem. They eat bugs, and be eaten by birds, snakes, and other bigger animals. So, if they exterminate, ecosystem is likely to collapse. (it said for other living things.)
If you want to observe this frog, you should go puddles near your home. But, they cannot be found in winter because,they hibernate under ground.