Damn frogs keeping me awake. Mostly I’m hearing Northern Cricket frogs (Acris repitans) and Cope’s Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis). Both are summer breeders in North Carolina. The cricket frogs are EVERYWHERE, all over the grass. The Cope’s are a little more cryptic, but must be present in large numbers due to the racket. They should have stopped by now, but seem to be still at it. But the end is in sight.
There’s a curious thing with the Cope’s. There is another species almost identical nearby, the Common Grey Treefrog (Hyla versicolor). Common Grey Treefrogs are not as common here as Cope’s Gray Treefrogs. The calls are VERY slightly different. There are VERY slight differences in size (say a tenth of an ounce or so). They have different ranges, with the Commons more common north of here, and the Cope’s running southward.
So what’s the difference? This is:
The Cope’s are haploid, meaning that every chromosome has two complete copies of the necessary genetics, one from the mother and one from the father. Like humans do. And most vertebrates. And what one would expect. Nothing abnormal at all.
The Commons are tetraploid. Meaning they have FOUR complete copies each chromosome and the whole meiosis/mitosis/gamete thing is, well, atypical. I have no information on the details. Other than this must mean that the Cope’s are an older species than the Commons.
Life is weird.
“Gray Treefrog” Encyclopedia of life, available from http://eol.org/pages/1019233/overview. Accessed September 22, 2014.