Reddish or yellowish brown, spotted with black; an elongated black patch behind the eyes.
R. temporaria, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 357. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 80. Flem. Brit. An. p. 158. R. aquatica, Ray, Syn. Quad. p. 247. R. fusca, Rces. Ran. tabb. 1-3. Common Frog, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 9. Shaw, Gen. Zool. vol. iii. p. 97. pl. 29. Id. Nat. Misc. vol. xx. pl. 864. (Variety). Grenouille rousse, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 105.
(Average). Length (from the end of the snout to the anus) two inches seven lines; hind leg (from its union with the body to the extremity of the longest toe) four inches; fore leg (measured in the same way) one inch five lines and a half. Obs. Often attains a larger size.
(Form). Body slender, compared with that of the Toad: head approaching triangular, the snout a little pointed: gape wide, extending to a vertical line from the posterior part of the orbit: teeth minute, forming a single row in the upper jaw; none in the lower; also an interrupted row across the front of the palate: tongue soft, fleshy, spatula-shaped, emarginated at the tip, folded back upon itself when not in use: eyes somewhat elevated above the forehead: back generally flat; sometimes a little gibbous behind: fore feet moderate, with four divided toes; third toe longest; second shortest; first and fourth nearly equal: hind feet more than half as long again as the body; the thighs strong and muscular; toes on these feet palmated, five in number, with scarcely the rudiment of a sixth; fourth toe considerably longer than any of the others; third and fifth equal: skin naked, every-where smooth, excepting between the thighs, where it is a little rugose. (Colours). Variable: above brown, yellowish brown, or reddish brown, more or less spotted with black; the spots forming transverse fasciae on the legs: beneath whitish, or yellowish white; generally plain, but sometimes spotted like the back. The most constant mark is an elongated patch of brown or brownish black behind the eyes, on each side of the occiput: there is also generally more or less indication of a whitish line running longitudinally down each side of the back, and enclosing a space paler than the adjoining regions.
Common and generally distributed in England and Scotland: said, however, to have been unknown in Ireland previously to 1696, in which year the species was introduced, for the first time, into that country*. Frequents the water during its larva state; afterwards, only resorts to it occasionally, or for the purpose of spawning. Ova deposited in clusters, in ditches and shallow ponds, about the middle of March: young, or Tadpoles, hatched a month or five weeks afterwards, according to the season: by the eighteenth of June, these are nearly full-sized, and begin to acquire their fore feet: towards the end of that month or the beginning of the next (varying in different years), the young frogs come on land, but the tail is still preserved for a short time afterwards. During the breeding season, the thumb of the male is much swollen. Food, principally insects.
Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 357. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 80. Flem. Brit. An. p. 159. R. viridis, Roes. Ran. tabb. 13, 14. Edible Frog, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 13. Green Frog, Shaw, Gen. Zool. vol. iii. p. 103. pl. 31." Id. Nat. Misc. vol. xx. pl. 871.
Larger than the common species. Colour olive-green, spotted with black: three longitudinal streaks of yellow down the back: belly yellowish.
This species, which is common in France and in other parts of the Continent, has been included in the British Fauna upon rather doubtful authority. In the late Mr. Don's account of the plants and animals found in Forfarshire, it is asserted (p. 37). that a few are occasionally to be met with about the lakes in that district, although rather rare. More recently, Dr. Stark is said † to have found it in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. I cannot but think, however, that, in both these instances, some other species, possibly a new one, has been mistaken for it, since it seems hardly probable that an animal so common in the South of Europe, should be found in Scotland, and not in any part of England. Although represented as indigenous by all our British authors, none, with the exception of those above mentioned, have assigned any locality for it. It is much to be desired that Dr. Stark would investigate the subject more thoroughly, and compare the specimens, which he finds in his neighbourhood ‡, with the true R. esculenta of the Continent.