American Toads have recently moved into the pond for their annual breeding event. I’ve seen a total of four toads; three singing males and one female. It’s not a great turnout, but it beats last year’s total of zero. These two males were in the center of the pond, requiring a long lens and flash in order to capture an image. Animals with reflective eyes just aren’t good subjects for flash photography.
Frequent rains have kept plenty of water in the pond. The runoff water has brought in a load of nutrients from the township road. The nutrients, along with uncommonly warm weather, have triggered an excessive growth of filamentous algae. The algae pads have allowed the male toads to perform their courtship songs far from shore.
The algae growth actually benefits developing frog tadpoles. The tadpoles feed heavily on the algae, and the algae makes it more difficult for predatory salamander larvae to stalk and capture the tadpoles.
Long, black strands of eggs are the result of the toad’s breeding activities.
Here is the couple responsible for all of those eggs. The male hangs onto the female’s back and fertilizes the eggs as they are released. The female determines where they eggs will be placed. She moves the couple around through the vegetation, while the male just goes along for the ride.
I’m hoping that these eggs will be responsible for a mass of small toads leaving the pond in a few months. I saw young toads in abundance last year, but I never found the breeding site. I’ll be taking a few of these eggs and putting them into the pool I built specifically for breeding toads. If some toads actually hatch from that pool, maybe a few will eventually return there to breed.