Posts Tagged 'amphibians'

Herps

We were hoping this Northern Watersnake would keep coming, passing under the boat launch dock we were standing on.But this Nerodia sipedon wasn’t playing. Instead it took shelter in these rocks, amid crabs, oysters, and periwinkles, peeping out occasionally to see if we were still there. Can you spot it?Here’s what we thought was a big Ratsnake (Pantheropphis obsoletus) soaking up the rays off the path. The cloudy eyes means this one is getting ready to shed.As you can see from the duckweed and young damselfly, these Acris genus cricket frogs are small, around an inch or so from bow to stern.But they pack a big voice. May not have noticed them if not for that, and the splashing.Tried to get a picture of their throats extending like pale balloons as they called, but no such luck.

All in southeastern Virginia.

Red-Spotted Newts

The Eastern Red-spotted Newt. A.K.A. Eastern Newt. Notophthalmus viridescens. This is the aquatic adult stage. When they’re younger, they have a terrestrial stage. On land, the “red efts” are startlingly orange-red colored, walking “don’t eat me!” signs (being toxic to most predators). These spotted newts can live more than a dozen years. This seems to be a female, and gravid as all get out. She curled around this vegetation. Ouroboros! It looked like she almost got stuck. Was she laying an egg? She’ll do one egg at a time, over a couple of weeks, wrapping each egg in a leaf or something similar.On the newt/salamander semantic issue: “Alone among salamanders found at the station, the eastern red-spotted newt is a member of Salamandridae, the family that comprises all “true salamanders” and newts. It is one of only 7 species of newt in North America, out of only 87 species worldwide. However, this prolific newt is second to only one other US salamander in the extent of its distribution — they are found throughout the eastern US, as far west as Texas and Minnesota. Although no one feature distinguishes newts from other salamanders, they tend to spend more time in the water as adults and have a more complex courtship system.”More about these critters.This one was the smallest of four seen here in New Jersey.

Wood Frogs


A year ago on April 1st, 2018, we heard Wood Frogs and saw their spawn floating here. It takes about a week for their eggs to rise up from below, where they’re laid. This year, on March 30th, we heard the frogs and saw them both mating and egg-laying for the first time. Male Wood Frogs sound like a bit like ducks as they announce their presence. Half a dozen of them can produce a helluva sound.The females are notably larger and redder than the males. You might think they were a different species if you saw them on their own.We didn’t see any on their own. This is amplexus, Latin for “embrace,” the amphibian mating stance.The females are full of eggs — the black spheres seen under water in some of these images — lots and lots of eggs. She can spawn a 1000 at a go.

More Spring

Red maple flowers. Eastern Phoebe.These are wind pollinated trees, so early spring emergence isn’t predicated on insects.An early arriving migrant, this bird is dependent on insects.Speaking of which, beetles and flies are emerging.A millipede in a leafy liverwort. Interesting similarity of shape…And here’s a frog-sex teaser. There’s some amplexus in the water…

Wetlands

An early morning in September, still warm and humid but not oppressively so. The wetland is rather quiet, though above me a couple squirrels gnaw away at hickories.I am delighted to see a spreadwing, the first I’ve seen in the Bronx. Slender Spreadwing, Lestes rectangularis, I think. He has caught a fly and is eating the still living creature.No doubt another creature who would like to catch a fly. Right below me as I watch the damselfly. Green Frog: Lithobates clamitans or Rana clamitans; there seems to be some binomial fisticuffs on the name of the genus. Rana is old school, and clearly still has its partisans.Close by, the devil in the garden. Must it always be so? An assault on the basis of the food chain for other insects and amphibians and reptiles and birds and mammals… which reminds me, I’m one of those, too.
***

Necessary reading, as she always is: Rebecca Solnit on the situation. By the way, six days ago I noted that it was unlikely that Kavanaugh was a one-time offender. His boss Kosinski was a serial predator; his would-be boss Trump is the same. No reason this kind of man stops.

***
Our GoFundMe campaign is nearly half way to the goal. Thank you so much!

Frog Songs

There were several species of frogs sounding off during the middle of the day yesterday at Great Swamp NWR. It was a… chorus… of several species. Lots of sounds I’ve never heard before. This one was the only amphibian actually seen out of the water; I’ve yet to find one of the peepers or chorus or tree frogs that sing out of the water. They blend in nicely. But meanwhile, in the water:

Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus, or Rana sylvatica in older sources) were the ones I definitely IDed. Some of their egg masses… just in time for the snow.

Bufo bufo

The Common Toad of Europe, I think. Vanlig padda in Sweden, where we found these two on a path near lake Krankesjön. Sweden has 13 species of amphibians (including two vattensalamander) and six species of reptiles.Being in the land o’ Linnaeus, we kept coming across the doubled binomial: Porzana porzana, Buteo buteo, Anser anser, Ciconia ciconia, Vanellus vanellus


Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 590 other followers

Twitter

Nature Blog Network

Archives