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Frogs spawn

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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 3:52pm
Yes I thought it was you Chubsta, but lazily didn't look back before typing. 
Newts do eat taddies I believe, but I've not seen this myself. I have spent many an hour watching taddies swimming about and newts ignoring them. That's not to say they won't eat them though! I did once find a palmate in the centre of a clump of spawn when I netted it out of the pond to hatch elsewhere. Maybe my palmates are a smallish newt to tackle the taddies once they put some weight on.
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 9:54am
If the water isn't clear enough to tell, i wouldn't give up hope yet Gemma.
A few years ago all the spawn in one of my ponds disappeared shortly before i went away for 3 weeks. When i returned - to my delight - it was teeming with tadpoles.
Personally, i would have 'farmed' some spawn as insurance though. I completely understand why you and Suzy would adopt let-nature-take-it's-course, non-intervention stance, but humans have made these such difficult times for our herps that i don't see any harm in giving them a little 'leg up' here and there.
In addition to the 15 tadpoles (which now have hind legs) on my kitchen windowsill, i put some spawn (now small but free-swimming tads) in a huge aquarium that's standing near the pond in the garden. During the past week, 8 newts (all males) have scaled the 45 cm glass, negotiated the large, overhanging 'lip' at the apex, and dropped inside.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



Edited by Liz Heard - 06 Apr 2019 at 11:33am
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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 7:52pm
Ben, aren't there restaurants where you can look in the tank and choose which fish/lobster you want to be cooked for you to eat? Maybe your newts are doing the same but getting in the tank to choose! That is if they eat tadpoles.
I just felt that it was such a lot of work tadpole rearing when things could go wrong and maybe they'd have fared better on their own. Some years I had brilliant success, others not so. 
Suz
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chubsta View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Apr 2019 at 8:19pm
Suzy - I feel the same about hedgehogs - the main 'carer' for the rescue wants to get every hog in that anyone sees, if only to give a it a once over and check for lungworm etc, whereas I am very much of the opinion we should let them live their lives naturally and only intervene if we identify there is a problem, of course by then it may be too late. There are positive and negatives to both options.

'Interfering in nature' by helping animals long, such as the tadpoles, puts them at other risks but as ben has said, we have already had a negative impact on them as humans anyway so perhaps we have a responsibility to help them if we can.

As we put a pond in at our other house I felt duty bound to put some spawn in and now have a healthy crop of tadpoles so I guess that is spreading the risk and any poisonings or overflows that affect my original population at least won't be felt by the new ones
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Suzy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Apr 2019 at 7:45pm
The spawn that I moved into my new small pond (one clump) as mentioned previously is doing well. In fact I can't believe how fast the taddies are growing. Certainly growing more quickly than ones in containers I've reared. They are not so crowded (even though I tried to spread captive taddies over many containers) and no problems with water overheating, which I had with containers if they got more than a few hours sun. In fact they are loving all the sunlight (when we have any) and the natural food in the pond must agree too. I specifically got this small pond hoping it would be good for frog spawn rearing, and so far it is. 
I think we all do hand rearing to give species the best chances, when perhaps on their own the conditions might not be so good. However for whatever we're rearing it takes a level of commitment and understanding and still things can go wrong. Nature allows for high mortality, but it is hard sometimes to step back and let nature take its course.
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2019 at 9:15am
You're right of course Suzi, but in a way we've intervened from the off by digging our ponds, excluding fish and generally encouraging - effectively farming - frogs in the first place.
It's still a long way from manipulating weather, IVF, GM crops, Gene Editing and attempting to reanimate dead pig's brains though eh?

I've seen newts voraciously chase and devour young frog tadpoles, and they will also gladly eat the egg 'dots' (but not the jelly) in the centre of freshly-laid frogs spawn. As the tadpoles grow though, they become a bit unwieldy.
In a fabulously busy and perfectly clear (yesss!!) amphibian pond (common frog, common toad, smooth newt and palmate newt easily observed) on a local nature reserve last week, i watched a male smooth newt chase, gobble - and swallow - a toad tadpole too. That was something i hadn't expected since a lot of predators leave those alone, finding them distasteful. Have seen fish for example, snap them up but within seconds they spit them back out again.

I remember reading once that some grass snakes will eat toads. Does Will, Gemma, Caleb or anyone know if there's a similar story of limited newt predation of toad tadpoles then, or do they all happily consume them (and i just haven't seen it happen before)?

Proudly presenting my first 'hand-reared' 2019 froglet!




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Caleb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caleb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2019 at 3:04pm
Originally posted by Liz Heard Liz Heard wrote:

Does Will, Gemma, Caleb or anyone know if there's a similar story of limited newt predation of toad tadpoles then, or do they all happily consume them

A study in the 1970s that found that smooths and palmates would not take natterjack or common toad tadpoles, but that cresteds would:

Apparently tadpoles of the green toad group are much more palatable, and some newt enthusiasts breed B. brongersmai specifically to produce tadpoles for newt food.

I've still never seen a newt eat frog spawn- the smooths and palmates in my garden pond seen to ignore it completely.
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2019 at 9:20am
I've seen GCN eat toadpoles, but I suspect with reluctance..  Certainly full grown toadpoles in large shoals seem to cruise around GCN (and other newt) ponds with impunity/immunity.
 
My own pond has smooth newts tucking into frogspawn every spring (or, more correctly as Ben says, sucking the embryos out of the jelly) and I know that alpine newts are real experts in gorging themselves in this way.
 
Interestingly we have loads of well grown frogpoles in the garden pond this year since the unwanted visit of a heron, which seems to have eaten not only some of the frogs that were making the spawn but also a significant proportion of the newts that would have eaten the frogpoles - the law of unforseen consequences, ie herons as guardians of the next generation of frogs in my pond...LOL
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2019 at 8:07pm
Thanks for the link Caleb , and the comments both. Guess my observation was an unusual incident then (or maybe the newt rejected it later after it swam out of sight). It was certainly a toad, rather than a frog tadpole though - i double checked.

I've seen newts feeding on frog spawn in the garden but the first time was elsewhere. I spotted a single clump of fresh spawn at the edge of this pond, and as prepared to record my sighting, to my surprise i noticed that every few seconds it was violently shaking about in the perfectly still water. What the hell's going on here then?
There were 3 or 4 newts having a go at the spawn simultaneously, thrusting themselves vigorously into the jelly like torpedoes.

I might be wrong but i thought i read that young adders in some populations will take grasshoppers, and when i worked as a refuse loader years ago there were certain roads along the route where the black bags would always be comprehensively perforated with little round holes by the local bird life (suspect corvids). They had learned there were food scraps to be had within. Elsewhere meanwhile, bin bags remained completely untouched.
Maybe some newt populations eat frog spawn while others don't?

Interesting observation - and 'law of unforseen consequences' example - Will.
Hope i never see a heron in the garden though!

Although adult newts enthusiastically gobble up frog tadpoles when the two share the water, perhaps during the terrestrial phase, adult frogs turn the tables a bit by feeding on efts or possibly even adults of the small newt species? There'll be plenty of opportunities to do so since they share foraging habits and have similar refugia preferences.

It's great to speculate!       
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chubsta View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2019 at 11:33pm
I agree - speculating about what may or may not be happening is a great thing - it is all too easy to listen to 'experts' etc who know all there is to know about animal behaviour and who will tell you that you must have been mistaken when you saw something, but no-one tells the animals how to behave, they just do their thing. 

Wildlife is fascinating to me because you never stop learning about it, and that is why forums like this are so important - where else can you discuss the whether newts eat frog and toad tadpoles without people thinking you are either mad or extremely dull...
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