Posts Tagged 'amphibians'

In Da Bronx


Franklinia alatamahaFranklinia in bloom. What a scrumptious flower! And the bees agree. (All of today’s trees are descendants from seeds collected by William Bartram in the 1760s. The plant is unknown in the wild.) Sylvilagus floridanusOn the mammal front, Cottontail and Chipmunk and Gray Squirrel.IMG_3877In addition to the frog, a Garter Snake crossed our path, and a couple of the elusive Italian Fence Lizards were seen (more on these anon).IMG_3829See the exuvia? AsclepiasPurple Milkweed Asclepias purpurea. IMG_3838

Frog, Rock, Turtle

IMG_3716This downward-facing turtle was king of the hill.IMG_3724This frog wanted a piece of the action.IMG_3722And this was one determined frog.IMG_3723It made several attempts to…well, what, exactly? Dislodge the turtle? In theory, the right amount of force applied to the fulcrum here should have knocked off the much larger turtle. IMG_3736But the turtle’s steadying feet made for an impregnable bastion.IMG_3728Meanwhile, and this was somebody else’s storyline, a young House Sparrow landing on all the nearby rocks and the other basking turtles briefly landed here. The turtle seemed to pay no more heed to this than it did the kamikaze frog.IMG_3730A state of equilibrium? IMG_3719But wait. Another rock. Another turtle. Another frog.IMG_3720


tadpolesOne of the unexpected sights during our walk along the Northumberland Coast Path was this (tidal?) pool full of what we thought were Common Toad (Bufo bufo) tadpoles. Surprising because this was brackish water at best, if not fully the brine of the nearby North Sea. Bufo bufoIt seems, though, that they can tolerate a certain amount of salt. And they are not the only amphibians to do so. I found this abstract of a journal article that provides a “review of the literature of amphibians in saline waters and present data on 144 species, in 28 families, on every continent except Antarctica. In doing so, we make the case that salt tolerance in amphibians may not be as rare as generally assumed.” IMG_3017Speaking of salt tolerance: near the tad-pools were some clumps of Glaux maritima, which seems to have more common names than you can shake a tadpole at, including, in the UK, Sea Milkwort. Found across the northern hemisphere, on coasts and high-elevation alkaline meadows.

Keep an eye or two out



IMG_1893In the Sylvan Water at Green-Wood. Tadpole…?


Notophthalmus viridescensOne of several Eastern Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) in the high reservoir at Black Rock Forest recently. The red-spots are telling here, identifying the animal (another common name is Red-spotted Newt) and warning predators to lay off. This is the mature, aquatic stage of the animal’s life-cycle. They can live more than a dozen years. As juveniles, a.k.a. Red Efts, they are bright orange and live on land. Wet, soggy land.Notophthalmus viridescensThe vertically flattened tail is fin-like.

It’s hard to shoot life underwater without the proper filter, even in shallow water. But I did manage to catch these two:Notophthalmus viridescensThis is a pair in amplexus, a term of amphibian art.Notophthalmus viridescensAmplexus is from the Lain for “embrace.” They fertilize externally, but this grasping and caressing by the male is something akin to human foreplay.

I had no idea some people keep these as pets. I don’t think wild animals should be taken from their environment for such uses. One pet guide recommends not handling them much because the salts and oils on human skin can be bad for them. Indeed. How about just leaving them alone?


amphibAn American Toad looking for a place to burrow down for winter.spiderLe Dejeuner sur l’herbe with tiny spider.lichenA scattering of lichen on smooth granite. walnutsBig walnuts.

All seen on Old Croton Aqueduct Trail or in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where lies Washington Irving.


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