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Young Wood Frogs Getting Land Legs

7-1-16 young wood frog 104

Thank you all for your good wishes regarding my next book!

With the dry weather we’ve been having, there is reason to be concerned about vernal pool residents, especially those that need to undergo metamorphosis before the pools dry up.  Granted, those amphibians such as Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders which transform into terrestrial creatures have evolved to have very quick life cycles, due to the temporary nature of their aquatic environment, but were they quick enough this year?

A very young Wood Frog crossed my path yesterday and answered that question for me.  No bigger than a raisin, it had to have emerged from its aquatic home in the very recent past.  When you think about the changes that have to occur between egg stage and adulthood (a total of two months, and it takes three of those eight weeks for Wood Frog eggs to hatch), it is mind-boggling.  Gills disappear and lungs develop, tail is absorbed, legs develop, mouth widens, intestines adapt to a herbivore-to-carnivore switch in diet – all inside of five weeks.

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7 responses

  1. Wow! I’ve seen these tiny critters hopping, but there’s something about this wonderful photo that really captures their marvel factor!

    July 1, 2016 at 8:53 am

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    Yes, amazing, isn’t it?! Wow, no bigger than a raisin. Frogs have really been disappearing around here. We have northern leopard frogs, bull frogs and western chorus frogs here (northern NM). Their populations have really declined in the last several years. Right now the woodhouse toads are calling at night. Such a strange sound. Thank you for your wonderful posts.

    July 1, 2016 at 8:58 am

  3. Marilyn

    I hear all the various frog and toad conversations in the spring, but my man-made pond goes dry more often now. And always by the end of the summer. It didn’t used to be crammed with cattails which I was advised to stop pulling out.

    July 1, 2016 at 9:08 am

  4. Kathie Fiveash

    Sadly, lot of the shallower vernal pools on Isle au Haut dried up before the froglets and baby salamanders could make it through. 😦

    July 1, 2016 at 1:56 pm

  5. What a sweet little peanut! I’ll have to keep an eye out for them. I noticed today all the toad tadpoles that line the water edges are gone. They had tails last weekend…would they have transformed that quickly or do you think something ate them?

    July 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    • Hi Eliza,
      I don’t know the answer to your question for sure, but I know that they can disappear in a matter of days…but most of the time I’ve seen tiny toads along the edge of the water they’ve absorbed their tails already, I guess that’s why they lay so many eggs, in case something does come along and feast on them, but hopefully they just finished metamorphosing and dispersed! Happy 4th!

      July 2, 2016 at 7:04 am

      • I’m hoping they morphed and hopped away. I love toads!
        Have a great long weekend.

        July 2, 2016 at 10:44 pm

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