The link above is to a short video that I made several years ago. It is about these amazing frogs. I’m sure that I’ve posted it before in my blogging adventures but thought I’d like to add it to my new NATURE KNOWLEDGE series.

Wood Frogs are being studied for their amazing ability to keep from freezing solid while buried only inches beneath leaves and woodland debris. They spend most of their time on the forest floor but this time of year, sing into the night while gathering to lay eggs in vernal pools and ponds.  Once you’ve heard their serenade, it is hard to ever consider not noticing them before!

The act of reproduction is called amplexus. Males cling to females while waiting for her to deposit eggs which they then fertilize with a cloud of sperm right after she deposits them. (On rare occasions, the number of males clinging to one female can weigh her down to the point of drowning her!)

Spotted salamanders lay their eggs during the same time period. In the case of spotted salamanders, the males leave sperm on the pond/pool floor. The female scoops up the sperm, beneath her tail, and her eggs are fertilized internally.

Often, the wood frog offspring and salamander offspring compete and eat each other in their journey to mature.

There are always dramas for survival taking place in nature, especially in the Spring.

Sympatric Salamanders 2012 -Overlapping Territories

The Jefferson salamander (above) and the Spotted salamander (below) both visit and leave eggs in my little pond in NY State.

These photos were taken this weekend. My pond is, in essence, a plastic container that was from Walmart several summers ago. It is about three and a half feet long…two feet wide and two feet deep. The depth is important for the salamanders, especially this season. It will not dry up as many vernal pools are during this unusually warm and dry springtime. About 10 years ago, I captured a blue Spotted Salamander in this location too. I haven’t seen one since. My camera and computer knowledge were both serious lacking then. In springtimes past, I’ve brought home specimens for the kids to witness firsthand. This year, I opted to leave them alone. A dry Spring is not very friendly to amphibians so I wanted them to keep multiplying uninterrupted.

The Jefferson and Spotted salamanders are syntopic. ( They occur together locally.) My little pond has become a yearly support to local populations and I’m very proud of this. At first, Wood Frogs overwhelmed my little pond at mating time. There are still a few who leave their eggs but the pond is populated by many more salamander eggs. The Wood Frogs have moved to larger ponds in our area.

The adult salamanders will leave soon and by late April their tadpoles will be visible and plentiful. I’ll document their growth in future posts.

There are a few more weekend shots to share. Enjoy!

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