Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pond and Salamander Eggs

This is the normal pool size of the pond in late winter and spring. The level indicates the balance between the spring flow coming in and the leakage through the bottom. The water rises following a rain, but it’s back to this level within a few days. The water depth in the center is just over two feet and this is just fine for the salamanders and frogs that breed here.

As I had hoped, there are a lot of salamander egg masses near the center of the pond. The eggs are attached to short plant stalks that were left after I mowed the pond last fall. Mowing the vegetation forces the salamanders to attach their egg masses near the pond bottom where they are less likely to be negatively impacted by fluctuating water levels.

These eggs are probably from Jefferson’s Salamanders. Although I’ve not seen them, I’m sure the adult salamanders are still in the pond. They typically continue courtship and egg laying over a period of weeks and since their arrival in the pond, there hasn’t been any suitable weather for returning to their terrestrial homes. Rain is forecast for next week and if we get enough, the Jefferson’s should be leaving the pond. It’s highly likely that as the Jefferson’s leave, they will be passing Spotted Salamanders on their way to the pond. The Spotteds breed a little later in the season and have a more hurried courtship.

The eggs appear to be coming along nicely. The developing embryo can now be seen as an elongated mass. These eggs should be hatching within the next couple of weeks.

This seemed to be a very popular spot to attach eggs. It looks like there will be plenty of eggs hatch. Hopefully, there will be rain enough to keep the pond full until the larvae can mature and survive on land.

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