Why did the wood frog cross the road?
Have you seen or heard wood frogs this year?
Photo by Paul Benjunas
The wood frogs crossed the road get to the vernal pool. They often migrate to vernal pools on warm, wet nights. If they are unlucky they become flat frogs. I unfortunately see many each year by this vernal pool near the road.
This year they moved early. My fellow frog enthusiast, Paul Benjunas, took the 2 photos above on March 1, 2017.
The male wood frogs go to vernal pools first and quack like ducks to attract the females. The females come and lay their eggs.
Each egg mass above was laid by one frog. Each black dot is one egg and if conditions are right will develop into a tadpole.
The upper portion of many egg masses froze this year.
As you can guess from looking at the closer view above, the eggs that froze will not survive. Luckily the eggs below the frozen ones that are still in the water are safe for now.
If you ever pick up a wood frog, please make sure your hands are wet and free of chemicals (insect repellent, hand lotion, etc.). Most frogs and most amphibians have very permeable skin. You don't want to dry out their skin or worse yet, poison them.
Above is a photo Paul Benjunas also took on March 1, 2017. The spotted salamanders migrated to the vernal pools recently too, but I have not seen any eggs yet. Have you?
If you keep your eyes and ears open, it is amazing what you can discover!
Share what you notice with a family member, friend or neighbor.
An excellent resource for information about vernal pool creatures is A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools by Leo Kenny and Matthew Burne and vernalpool.org.
A good general resource on vernal pools is our Everyone Outside CT Vernal Pools Teacher Reading.
Paul Benjunas is a photographer who specializes in reptiles and amphibians. He live in Durham, CT. Photos used with permission.
The photos of the frozen wood frog eggs were taken by Charlotte Meigs.