An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Wood Frog Egg Matts

wood frog egg mass IMG_2760Now that normal spring temperatures have returned, the air around vernal pools is once again filled with the clacking/quacking calls of male wood frogs hoping to attract females. Once this has been accomplished, most paired wood frogs head to the same general area in the pool to mate.  The resulting egg masses, each consisting of several hundred eggs, form a communal cluster, or “egg matt,” on the surface of the water.  Eventually algae will start growing on the jelly-like substance surrounding the eggs, causing them to resemble pond slime – an effective camouflage.  The gelatin covering, the size of the communal cluster, and exposure to the sun all help the eggs to be warmer than the surrounding water and they develop quickly – a necessity if one is to metamorphose into an adult before the vernal pool dries up.

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8 responses

  1. Marilyn

    I’ll take a closer look at that green slime!

    April 21, 2016 at 9:22 am

  2. k

    I absolutely love vernal pools. So much life.

    April 21, 2016 at 9:49 am

  3. Kathy Schillemat

    We found a huge matt of wood frog eggs a few years ago–it was so big that we called it a raft of eggs. I think that we estimated somewhere in the realm of 350,000 eggs in the matt.

    April 21, 2016 at 10:22 am

  4. mariagianferrari

    It’s amazing how much life vernal pools support. I used to love finding these as a kid.

    April 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm

  5. Louise Garfield

    The first wood frogs in my small pond in Putney laid eggs around March 15; when I gently pushed some of the eggs into deeper water 2 days ago, the tadpoles escaped, so tiny! I hope the water lever supports the second batch of eggs. And peepers arrived later than in many other ponds in the area, just a few days ago. I thought they had died off!

    April 21, 2016 at 9:15 pm

  6. Oddly, we have NO wood frogs this year after years of having them. I think the pond failed to yield last year, there were few tadpoles. Perhaps they were eaten. With this dry spell, even the few peepers in the yard are mum. Bigger ponds are much more successful it seems.

    April 21, 2016 at 9:27 pm

  7. Sandy DeRosa

    Fascinating info on wood frog egg mats. My students liked this! I played the calls, too, for them. Thanks!

    May 17, 2016 at 2:37 pm

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