Sunday, May 20, 2012

Baby Wood Frogs

The great mass of Wood Frog tadpoles has finally made its transition into proper frog shape.  It’s really not proper to refer to these as baby frogs, since the tadpole is more accurately the baby, but the term seems to best fit these tiny miniatures that are just beginning to leave their aquatic environment.

They are already showing those characteristics that distinguish their species.  The dark patch behind the eyes and the folds of skin running along each side of the back are clearly visible.  There’s no doubt as to the identity of these little froglets.

Most of the little frogs are still showing a stub of tail.  When I looked at the tadpoles a week ago, the tail was still long and full.  Things have progressed rapidly since then.

Frogs can be seen anywhere on the pond’s surface and along the shore.  They add a bit of spice to the algae mat.

It’s unusual to have the pond covered with algae at this time of year.  Several large storms washed organic material into the pond  and that combined with unusually high temperatures to build this algae mat.  The presence of the algae doesn’t at all impact the development of frog or salamander larvae. 

The danger to the frogs comes from this related species, the Bullfrog.  Bullfrogs have an insatiable appetite and will eat anything small enough to swallow.  This includes small frogs.

Presence of the Bullfrogs is also weather related.  Bullfrogs need a permanent body of water and don’t persist in ponds like this one that go dry in the summer.  These Bullfrogs have come from somewhere else and they do their traveling during rainy weather.  The frequent rains we’ve had this spring have been perfect for Bullfrog migration.  These are mostly younger frogs that have come in search of a permanent home.  They’ll find this home quite suitable, until the water disappears in July.
 
Most of the Wood Frogs are emerging in the area of flooded dogwoods.  That makes sense since Wood Frogs prefer a forested habitat.  After leaving the pond, the frogs will search for a suitable area in which to live.  They’ll return to breed in the pond each spring, but the majority of their lives will be spent in the woodlands.  I hope they’re lucky enough to find somewhere that suits their needs.

3 comments:

  1. And, I'll bet the frogs are singing up a storm to find mates. Or, has that time passed already there?

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  2. Informative post along with some great shots of the frogs and their habitat.

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  3. Hi Lois. Wood Frogs have finished their mating activities for the year, but I currently have Green Frogs, Peepers and Gray Treefrogs calling from the pond.

    Thanks Pat. It looks like you've got some good Wood Frog habitat down there on Bailey Road.

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