Monday, April 16, 2012

2012 Spring Amphibian Surveys

Amphibian survey results from April 13 and 15:
     Despite the dry conditions that have persisted since the beginning of the year (only 5" rain so far in 2012), we observed a fair number of amphibian species over the course of two amphibian programs.  Friday evening's hike included encounters with Spring peepers, Bullfrog and Green frog tadpoles, Pickerel frogs, Red-backed salamanders (both color phases), and Northern two-lined salamanders (larval and adult).
     The woodland pool was nearly 100% dry, so the vast majority of Wood frog and Spotted salamander eggs and tadpoles have already perished.  Marbled salamander larvae can't survive in a dried out pool either.  The good news is, Friday's participants recovered almost 3 dozen Spotted salamander egg masses that we were able to transplant into Bechtel Lake.  And while these egg masses fair better in fish-less pools, a dry pool this year means 100% mortality if none were transplanted.  In Bechtel Lake, mortality from predation is likely to be high, but a small percentage of the transplanted salamanders should survive to leave the lake as an adult by summer's end.
     Sunday afternoon's follow-up visit yielded much the same in amphibian variety as Friday evening.  New additions to our observations were American toads and Green frogs calling from the shores of Bechtel Lake.
     Additional wildlife species observed during the survey programs included a variety of snails, mayfly larvae, various dragonfly and damselfly nymphs, various diving beetles, midge larvae, side-swimmers, and finger nail clams in Bechtel Lake.  Various millipedes and centipedes, pill bugs, slugs, land snail, and earthworms were observed under fallen logs with the Red-backed salamanders.  Caddis fly and Crane fly larvae were present in the stream along side the Northern two-lined salamanders and Pickerel frogs.  Flying squirrels could be heard in the trees after dark and a number of wolf spiders were seen along the forest floor during the evening's hike.

Thank you to all who participated in the amphibian programs and helped us make these observations on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

-Adam Zorn, Naturalist

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