A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Froggy Flower Power

The social upheaval in the United State of the 1960’s is sometimes summed up with the catchy phrase “flower power”.  What this really means is lost someplace deep the mind of an original hippie somewhere.  Flowers are the reproductive parts of a the plant, understanding this basic botanical anatomy changes the meaning of the phrase quite drastically.   No matter what it means the phrase has become a symbol of the social and environmental movements started, largely, in the 1960’s.

Flowers are serve as an oasis for many species of insects.  Their plentiful nectar is reserved only for those that have the right tools to get it.  Some present their good quite flamboyantly, other are much more subtle.  Like my previous post Spider Sniper details flowers also attract a variety of predators to take advantage of the bountiful prey.

Like the watering hole in the drought stricken African Savannah, predators of all types flock toward flowers with the simple knowledge that eventually their prey will have to come to them.   My previous post detailed how the crab spider sits patiently for its prey, but there are larger predators out there…

As the old adage goes “There is always a larger fish in the pond”, so too does this statement ring true with every other ecosystem on earth.  Every predator must be on guard because it is also prey.  The predatory crab spider from Spider Sniper would be a crunchy morsel for this young tree frog.  The tree frogs invade my flower garden each summer to feast on the plethora of invertebrates that have come to garden to feed (on the flowers or other invertebrates).   A keen eye can spot a frog on nearly every plant, patiently waiting for its prey to make an appearance.

Tree Frogs may be the top predator of the plant or the leaf but they certainly do not own the garden.  They must avoid becoming prey for snakes, birds, weasels, shrews and a myriad of other predators.

Tree Frogs can change color from gray to green to match the color of their background, and hopefully avoid detection by predators.

This young frog recently emerged as an adult from the vernal pool just feet behind my garden.  It’s head still looks more like a tadpole than an adult frog and there is still a little vestigial tail from its days as an aquatic larvae.

Now this frog might look like I posed it for the shot, but I assure you this is where I found this particular frog.  It is one of those moments that is just too perfect to pass up.  A tiny frog sitting on the head of a dew covered daisy.  (cue the “AAWWWW”)

I really like the one above,  you can see the Bee Balm just out of focus in the back.

Here the little frog waits for its invertebrate prey.  The carnage of the struggle for life happening in my own peaceful garden.  If “flower power” is supposed to make a call for peace and tranquility, then those individuals who chant the call have never truly witnessed the simple struggle for survival that occurs in every garden around the world.  Nature is not peaceful, or tranquil despite the delicate appearance.  Nature is a gloves off fight to the death and only the victors live to see another dawn, “Flower Power” indeed.

 

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One response

  1. kathy lane

    Jimmy,
    Once again your post brings tears to my eyes. I love the way you connect your stories to a totally different subject…but one we can also relate to. So beautiful.beautiful.beautiful.
    Love Mom

    November 28, 2011 at 10:36

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