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Schoolgirl finds rare 'lucky' gold and blue frogs near her home in eastern Japan

This photo provided by the eastern Japan town of Kaisei, Kanagawa Prefecture, shows a group of frogs including the rare gold and blue tree frogs found in the town.

KAISEI, Kanagawa -- An elementary school girl has caught extremely rare gold and blue tree frogs in a paddy field near her house in this eastern Japan town where blue tree frogs are apparently thought to bring good luck.

    Seven-year-old first-grader Aisa Yamano spotted the tree frogs on July 4. She found several of them on a footpath between rice fields in the town of Kaisei, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, while she was out walking with her 36-year-old father. Of the frogs she discovered, three were blue and one was gold.

    The father and daughter wanted to know more details about the frogs, and made an inquiry via email to Ikuo Miura, a known frog researcher who is an associate professor of the Institute for Amphibian Biology at Hiroshima University. They received a reply saying that the gold tree frog was an albino type that has no pigmentation as a result of a mutation, and that the mechanism behind the blue color of the other frogs is unknown. Miura wrote not only that the tree frogs of each color are rare, but that it is extremely unusual for gold and blue frogs to be found at the same time in the same place.

    Yamano's father commented, "I've been seeing blue frogs here in Kaisei for some time, so I didn't think they were rare. They say blue frogs bring good luck. I'm happy if this news can help cheer up the public."

    (Japanese original by Shinichi Cho, Sagami Local Bureau)

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