Skeeter’s Revenge

A few nights ago, on another of those warm, rainy evenings, I talked my sister into a second trip to wade around a slough, this time down the old tram road south of Van Buren.  We were looking for crayfish, Cambarus diogenes and Procambarus acutus, but came up with nothing other than a few small Orconectes punctimanus.

But the night wasn’t a total waste (and let’s face it, a night wading in a slough is never a waste!)  Arrayed around the shoreline of the slough, one every 10-12 feet or so, were calling male Dwarf American Toads (Bufo americanus charlesmithi.)  The toads were fairly tame and I did get a fair shot of one calling even though I’d brought the waterproof D10 and it’s puny 3x zoom.


If you click on the photo and look at it at full size, you’ll see that he’s covered with mosquitoes.  I used to keep a black light outside my back door and a pair of toads quickly figured out that hanging around the light meant an easy meal.  I got a kick out of feeding them and got them to take everything from moths and mayflies to beetles and stoneflies.  The only thing I couldn’t get them to eat were giant water bugs (Belostomatidae sp.) which are several inches long and pretty darned intimidating.  So if I were a mosquito, anywhere near a toad would seem like a really bad place to be.  But the toads were paying zero attention to the mosquitoes and they were taking advantage of the fact.  The things we do for love…

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