Small brown frog that has an X pattern on its back? Check out last week’s blog post to see a picture. Did you guess it?? It’s a Spring Peeper! They are a species that starts breeding a little later than others so we are starting to hear and see them around the ponds now.
Let’s check in on some other species we have seen this week.
Wood frogs are ones that we haven’t seen often either. They are early comers to the Spring season and while they are done laying their eggs now, we found this one hanging out in a pond. How would you describe him? We remember this one by the brown mask he is wearing over his eyes.
Marbled Salamanders are next! While we have only seen two adults so far, their breeding season is in the Fall so we are seeing more metamorphs than adults. Metamorphs are what we call them when they are in the transition stage from tadpole to adult! This is the stage we are more concerned about because they are hungry and frog eggs are a great meal for them. We keep an eye out for them in the ponds and if we think there are way too many for the size of the pond, and there are crawfish frog eggs present, we will move the eggs to a different pond so that they have a better chance of survival.
Last but certainly not least, Pickerel frogs! They are a species that comes out later than others, and we have only seen a few this week. These look very similar to Southern Leopard frogs but do you know how we can differentiate the two species? Pickerels have a yellow mark in the corners of their legs, as if someone marked them with a highlighter! One day while checking a pond, we were so surprised by the amount of Pickerels that had come out, there were so many!! Turns out they were all Southern Leopards, oops. Good thing this internship is for us to learn and get better at what we do day after day.
How do we keep track and remember of all of these species? A lot of it is from working and seeing them everyday but it’s also from finding clever ways to remember them. I (Sarah) have enjoyed coming up with or learning new ways other people can remember the many species we find on the refuge. Do you know any interesting ways to identify different amphibians? We’d love to hear them!