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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: 02 Mar 2019 at 5:50pm
Oh dear Ben does that pond look a bit doomed, well the spawn anyway?
Just shows how a warmer spot brings the spawn on ...your window sill and Gemma's conservatory.
I have decided not to intervene and "help" any of my spawn this year. I just want to see how it does on its own. 
Today I was able to show my young grandchildren the remnants of the croaking frog influx. They managed to stand very still and were thrilled to watch the frogs croaking. There are only a few left now. Also they were interested in the spawn, which I have lost count of how many clumps there might be. 
One interference I will make, is to transfer a clump into my new small pond which gets the most sun and see how it does.
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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: 02 Mar 2019 at 7:33pm
Still none here, plenty of ponds in the village are reporting lots of spawn but despite having dozens of frogs I haven't a single clump!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2019 at 7:45am
@Ben:
'Great to see/hear all, and you're as eagle-eyed as ever Will (and Suzy)'. 
- Phew, thanks Ben, I'm getting to the inevitable stage where reading glasses are fast becoming a necessity... 


'No red frogs seen this year Will. However, there were a couple of almost uniformly yellow individuals with only the vaguest of spotting/banding.
Would it be fair to say that the common frog has the widest variation in markings of any UK herp species?'
- I've got some almost golden yellow females in the pond at the moment - beautiful animals, just like yours with no other markings at all.  They stick out like sore thumbs, and (as I have bored people with this idea before..) I reckon due to their transience in ponds, unlike the males which need to be dull grey/brown (with a few exceptions) to avoid Mr and Mrs Heron etc.  So, yes, I would say the humble wonderful common frog (the females, for a change, especially) shows a spectrum of colours, patterns etc which mark it out (literally) from the other natives (though some female common toads run them a close second).  I guess (non-native wise) there is also loads of variation in marsh frogs, but I have no idea how you would compare this characteristic scientifically!Smile
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2019 at 12:43pm
I have a nagging suspicion that a lot of the variation we see in common frogs is environmental. Noticed our population now has a lot of males with random and heavy black blotching. Red and leucistic individuals are regularly reported. It goes back over a decade but there was a discussion on here where a few of us thought that though reports of odd coloured frogs go back years in the literature the occurrence is now much higher. I remember as a child half a dozen populations where none of these more noticeable colour variations occurred, they just looked like common frogs in the books. Still with plenty of pattern variations but not jet black blotches all over their backs or tomato red.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2019 at 1:30pm
Gemma, do you mean 'environmental' as in 'not inherited' but probably some kind of epistatic mechanism in which the colouration is induced by factors (as yet unidentified) acting on genes that an individual frog might come into contact with?  Would be a very interesting study.  Personally I incline more towards the idea of relaxed selection pressure in garden ponds allowing what were rare alleles for colourful frogs to become more frequent in the population, and perhaps enhanced by a founder effect as well.  None of these hypotheses excludes the others though.  Might be a nice 'citizen science' project, with systematic recording of frog colours (but how you would get over the subjective analysis of what constitutes an unusually coloured frog I don't know...)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2019 at 3:35pm
Exactly the definition I've been pondering Will! By environmental, yes I meant some strange external factor, as it appears our frogs 'developed' these makings over time. If we consider that the vast majority of our population were probably hand reared (though of course some were not) none had the dark black irregular blotching in early life. For the first few years, none of the returning adult frogs did either. They just looked like 'text book' common frogs. This year though, more individuals have the irregular pitch black marking than do not. Some of these are good sized males, so gut feeling is they were once the 'normal' looking frogs of the past. It is like something is triggering some form of reaction in the skin rather than an inherited trait. Though entirely conjecture, would indeed be something worth a look at scientifically.

Edited just to add, these observations are contrary to my experiences of populations in Suffolk as a child. Where seeing perhaps thousands of different individuals, I do not remember a single one that had the pitch black irregular markings, well certainly not anything like to the extent we commonly see today.


Edited by GemmaJF - 05 Mar 2019 at 3:46pm
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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: 06 Mar 2019 at 9:46am
fascinating stuff - another possibility, to play devil's advocate - how about if the spots were something older frogs develop with age (like the liver spots which are sadly starting to blossom on my skin) and that gardens might favour longevity in frogs more than the wider countryside...?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2019 at 1:09pm
Definitely a possibility Will, the one I thought of is the way people get more moles as they age if they expose themselves to the sun a lot. But my suspicion is aroused because of not observing the spots in populations 40 years ago, we don't see much in the literature about it either, or images from the past depicting it. So that suggest to me a new phenomenon, perhaps some agent in the environment or change in habitat availability. Though I think different dynamics of garden populations, much more interest and recording these days (so we see a lot more of the variations) is just as likely. It is just that thing of wanting to 'know' what if anything is behind it!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Mar 2019 at 2:28pm
definitely a nice project for someone to work on - I wonder if there are enough 'archive' photos of Rt to make a comparison.
 
In terms of quantifying the 'spottiness' I think there is some kind of scale / grid that is used in medicine for assessing the density of moles / liver spots etc - maybe this sort of thing could be adapted for frogs, and then you're starting to talk about proper quantitative data..  However it wouldn't take into account the other parameters that determine 'unusual colour and patterning in frogs' such as the colour itself.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Mar 2019 at 12:45am
Finally! Pond is still teeming with frogs each night so hopefully this is just the beginning...


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