Author Topic: George Orwell on tree frogs in Huesca  (Read 1264 times)

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Offline nick

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George Orwell on tree frogs in Huesca
« on: May 30, 2010, 12:49 PM »
I came across this in George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia written in 1937.

The extract was written in the Sierra de Alcubierre in the Monegros on the Aragonese Front, during the spring of 1937.

The "exquisite green frogs the size of a penny" are clearly tree frogs. I'm not sure from their distribution map which species of  Hyla it is, meridionalis or arborea?

Quote
Spring was really here at last. The blue in the sky was softer, the air grew suddenly balmy. The frogs were mating noisily in the ditches. Round the drinking-pool that served for the village mules I found exquisite green frogs the size of a penny, so brilliant that the young grass looked dull beside them. Peasant lads went out with buckets hunting for snails, which they roasted alive on sheets of tin.

Neither of the hyla species maps current include eastern Huesca in their distribution.
Are they inaccurate or are we talking about a local extinction?

Which species are we talking about? My guess is arborea.

http://www.mma.es/portal/secciones/biodiversidad/inventarios/inb/anfibios_reptiles/pdf/anfibios_24.pdf
http://www.mma.es/portal/secciones/biodiversidad/inventarios/inb/anfibios_reptiles/pdf/anfibios_23.pdf


I'm guessing the other frogs are perezi's "The frogs were mating noisily in the ditches"


« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 14:11 PM by nick »
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George Orwell on tree frogs in Huesca
« on: May 30, 2010, 12:49 PM »

Offline Clive

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Re: George Orwell on tree frogs in Huesca
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2010, 23:19 PM »
Tree frogs the size of a penny? Even the old English penny would be a bit too small for tree frogs wouldn't it? Also if the other frogs are perezis then there wouldn't be any baby tree frogs around as they breed at similar timescales dont they... I realise I am on thin ice here.. :)

I suppose it depends on which end of spring we are talking about though...
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Offline nick

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Re: George Orwell on tree frogs in Huesca
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010, 10:26 AM »
I rememeber the old English penny being rather big ...

Diameter: 31 mm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_%28British_pre-decimal_coin%29

But what is the diameter of the tree frog? I would say a small one wouldn't be much bigger than 31mm....

The spring he described was in April because Orwell travelled on April 28 1937 back to Barcelona on leave (where he was to witness and take part in the terrible Fets de Maig/May days)

PS I've collected a few nature-related passages from Homage to Catalonia here:
http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2010/05/george-orwell-in-the-monegros/
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 10:29 AM by nick »
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