New Brunswick

'Rare' turquoise frog spotted in Fredericton

Melynda Jarratt didn’t believe her eyes when she saw a bright turquoise frog in her garden.

Northern leopard frog is one of 9 frog and toad species in province, but it's usually not blue

A turquoise northern leopard frog, a species that's normally green, turned up Saturday in a Fredericton woman's backyard. (Submitted by Melynda Jarratt)

Melynda Jarratt didn't believe her eyes when she saw a bright turquoise frog in her garden.

"My first thought was that it was plastic or something, and then I looked closer and closer and closer and gee, it was a frog," Jarratt told CBC's Shift. "A bright turquoise frog."

Jarratt was working in her garden on Saturday after a long day of work, when she noticed the little fellow sitting in the grass.

"I was working in my garden Saturday night after a long day at work and looking forward to getting my hands dirty in the soil and weeding," said Jarratt, the executive director of the Fredericton Region Museum.

"He was just sitting nice and comfy. I think he got a scare cause he saw me and he was protecting himself and he just stayed still."

'It was brilliant'

Because of a genetic mutation, this northern leopard frog is missing its yellow pigment, leaving only a blue pigment to give it colour. (Submitted by Melynda Jarratt)

Jarratt said the frog was about four or five inches long, or about 10 to 12 centimetres.

"He had spots all over his back and over his head and arms and legs, but it was the turquoise colour [that got my attention]," she said.

She snapped a couple of photos of the frog and told a few people walking by on the Trans Canada Trail about it.

"It was brilliant, very unusual, very unusual. I'd never seen anything like that before in my life."

'A rare find'

While the northern leopard frog is a common, widespread species throughout most of New Brunswick, the blue colour variation is rare.

According to Donald McAlpine, research curator and head of the zoology section at the New Brunswick Museum,  leopard frogs are commonly found in wet meadows and grassy areas.

"But a blue frog or a turquoise frog is much less common," he told CBC's Shift on Monday. "It's quite a rare find."

Leopard frogs are usually green or brown. The blue frogs are the result of a genetic mutation, he said.

"The green coloration of frogs is the result of two pigments: a yellow pigment and a blue pigment," McAlpine said. "And when the yellow pigment is missing, you get a blue frog."

The northern leopard frog is one of nine frog species found in New Brunswick. Some of the other frog species, including green frogs and bullfrogs, also have a blue colour variation and have been spotted in the province, McAlpine said.

But in the 38 years he's worked at the New Brunswick Museum, he's seen fewer than five reports of blue frogs, he said. The last was four or five years ago.

For now, the rare find has disappeared from Jarratt's garden.

"He stayed there for a while," she said. "He's disappeared and he hasn't been back."

About the Author

Sarah Morin

Reporter

Sarah Morin is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick based in Fredericton. Story tip? sarah.morin@cbc.ca

With files from Shift