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Frogs spawn

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: Herpetofauna Native to the UK
Forum Name: Common Frog
Forum Description: Forum for all issues concerning Rana temporaria
URL: http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=5199
Printed Date: 14 Oct 2019 at 9:14pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.06 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Frogs spawn
Posted By: Rupe
Subject: Frogs spawn
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2018 at 8:40pm
Hi, Been busy this week relocating frogs spawn. Loads and loads.Don't get alarmed as only being transported a very short distance. Here in Essex the frogs,at my known sites, have spawned in the temporary flood pools and puddles that will certainly be void of water before metamorphosis. Strange that more permanent waters( and their usual breeding areas) are only a matter of a few metres away. I presume that the shallow waters have warmed and become more appealing to the frogs. Any other members with similar observations



Replies:
Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2018 at 9:43pm
Often seen it Rupe, though not in Essex. Would do exactly the same thing and move it to somewhere sensible and have done often.



Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2018 at 10:14am
Hi Rupe

Yes. on the lawn in a friend's garden they all spawned in temporary puddles resulting from melted snow (which dried up).


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2018 at 7:20pm
Having heard that Gemma has moved her frog spawn indoors I was wondering what to do with mine. I would choose this year for it to 'fend for itself'! I strongly suspect my early spawn died in the snow the other week and now having lots more spawn I was hoping to leave it alone. Anyway I relented at 5.45pm and was out in falling snow and zero temps scooping as much as I could into a bucket. I hadn't realised just how much I had and quickly had the bucket almost three quarters full. I topped it up with pond water and put it in the greenhouse. There is an equal amount left in the pond which will have to take its chances. I noticed quite a lot of commas amongst the full stops in the jelly. 

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Suz


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2018 at 8:02pm
Suzy - what part of the Uk are you in? I seem to be the only place without any spawn...


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2018 at 8:31pm
Gone the same way Suz, 50% in slightly deeper water left to take it's chances, 50% now in shallow trays in the living room. Having just purchased the trays, no doubt will now end up raising the taddies to a good size indoors after last years pesticide induced disaster. I've already done their first batch of boiled and liquidized cabbage and put it in the freezer for when they eventually hatch lol.



Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 17 Mar 2018 at 9:35pm
Can I now be hard hearted and tip the whole lot back into the pond when better weather appears?!
Chubsta I am in East Devon. We are in a valley bottom and not a particularly favoured spot temperature wise. I have had spawn some years up to 20th March.


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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 18 Mar 2018 at 4:38pm
Depending how advanced the spawn is, i would put the bucket outside for a bit to acclimatise it before emptying it back into the pond.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 18 Mar 2018 at 5:06pm
When we release our taddies in batches, we float the tray out on the pond for an hour so (not in strong sun) so the water temp in the tray slowly matches the pond. Neighbours think we are nuts, but that was never much of a secret really.


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2018 at 12:09am
I wondered the other day if any neighbours saw me from their upstairs windows doing a very slow shuffle for half an hour to and fro between my two ponds watching for frogs! 
Twenty years ago with my son and brother we fixed a white sheet up and put a strong torchlight behind it to attract moths. We sat around on garden chairs in the dark watching the lit up sheet....again wonder what they thought!
Actually when I think of it there is a long list of odd behaviour here!


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Suz


Posted By: lalchitri
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2018 at 12:09pm
It never rains, just pours.

http://abload.de/image.php?img=29496706_102115566661paplm.jpg" rel="nofollow">

http://abload.de/image.php?img=28827118_102115566661sguep.jpg" rel="nofollow">


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Reformed Teetotaller


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2018 at 12:19pm
Wow amazing!

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Suz


Posted By: lalchitri
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2018 at 7:38pm
Originally posted by Suzy Suzy wrote:

Wow amazing!


All started from a virgin pond in 2006, with 3 clumps of spawn taken from another local (>0.5mile) pond.
Shows how starved certain species are for an environment to thrive.
Build it and they will come.

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Reformed Teetotaller


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 23 Mar 2018 at 3:08pm
Wow that is a nice haul of spawn!


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 26 Mar 2018 at 10:38pm
Today I've put about three quarters of the tadpoles back into the pond. They were free swimming. I've kept two trays which I might hand rear depending on how the others are doing in the pond. I've found that releasing them when they are big tadpoles they survive OK in the pond, but keeping the water fresh and feeding them in containers, as some will know, is time consuming and not always successful. 
The spawn that stayed in the pond during the last snowfall seems mainly OK and the tadpoles from it are just free swimming. 


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Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 26 Mar 2018 at 11:22pm
Tell me about it Suz, I've got to net out a couple of hundred taddies in a minute for a water change. Spawn in our pond not looking brilliant. Lots seems to have gone off now and the embryos that are left are really tiny and don't look anywhere near ready to hatch yet. Have 7 trays of free swimming taddies, think will let them go in batches into the pond so end up with just one or two trays to look after.


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 29 May 2018 at 10:23am
This past week I've put about 90% of my container reared taddies back in the pond. I had been putting about 20/30 a day in the small pond until last Friday when I saw a herring gull stood by the containers and worried it was going to start going for them. After that I released the entire contents of five trays and put a metal grill over the remaining container. It would have been tricky to cover all the containers and as they had good sized taddies in it prompted me to release them. I also released about 30 into the larger pond to see how they fared. My worries about the larger pond are that it is not where the spawn was laid (do mother frogs know what's best?) and there are lots of back swimmers which I've seen in other ponds catch taddies. 
I would think this is one of my most successful years for hand rearing. I had the containers placed to receive a maximum of just over an hour's sun a day. I didn't change the water at all and although it got green it didn't seem to bother the taddies. There were rafts of duckweed in the containers and some small emerging plants of frogbit. I fed  lettuce puree to them but it wasn't as popular as previous years so I went on to fish pellets. They liked those, and I hope weren't detrimental. They got a good size and the containers were probably overstocked really. I expect they will be developing legs very soon.
The ones I released in the larger pond seem to be surviving. I do spend hours pond gazing and have seen good numbers in there. 
So am hoping to see froglets soon.


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Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 29 May 2018 at 11:56pm
Brilliant Suz, been a while now since ours were released and we have plenty of froglets, just have to be careful at the moment not to tread on them! Was quite surprised to see an adult male smooth newt the other night with frolet legs hanging out of its mouth! Knew they took tadpoles but first time I've seen one eat a fully emerged froglet. Not seen any GCN larva, but oddly the smooth newt larva have grown huge this year. I'm use to seeing quite small ones but they look more like sub-adults with gills this year. Was a bit confusing as I was half hoping for GCN larva that I would expect to be large, but all definitely smooth newt larva that I have seen so far.



Posted By: will
Date Posted: 30 May 2018 at 8:45am
could they be last year's larvae overwintered, Gemma? 


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 30 May 2018 at 10:03am
I have seen a few overwintering palmate larvae in my ponds. I don't have smooth newts. As I said previously I spend hours pond watching and seen ne'er a sign of any GCNs surfacing. I don't think they're in the big pond this year. The small pond is covered in duckweed and other weeds so not sure what's in there newt wise, although have seen palmates for sure earlier in the season before the duckweed took over. 
How pleasing Gemma that you've now got froglets. Makes it all worthwhile. I'm guessing palmates are a bit too small to grab froglets. The tadpoles are on the hefty size so I'm hoping they're safe too.


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Suz


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 30 May 2018 at 10:04am
Well Lalchitri how did your frog spawn do? Hardly space to swim I should imagine if all the spawn developed!

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Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 30 May 2018 at 10:39pm
I would guess they were this years Will, but only from the fact that I saw none at all when torching earlier in the year. It is a real mystery as I have seen smooth newt larvae very often and nothing even approaching the size of these. Some have lost their gills and are swimming about with the adults. There are no normal sized ones I've seen either! Confused


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 04 Jun 2018 at 9:18am
It will be interesting to track their progress - maybe they'll keep growing and become neotenous!


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 26 Jun 2018 at 12:00am
Went out this morning as the sun started to shine on various refugia. The slow worms only needed fifteen minutes warm up and then they were off. I even spotted a large slow worm just about to go under one of the Coroline covers as the sun started to hit it (nothing underneath at the time). Temperature up to 29 deg here today.
 








I tried to get a few froglet/taddies but not too successful...



This evening I saw about a dozen palmates but discovered wearing a head torch and working a camera is tricky as I created shadows and wasn't sure if to use the flash or not. 



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Suz


Posted By: lalchitri
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2019 at 11:04pm
Last year was a disaster for me.
Probably the most spawn I’ve ever had (roughly 100 clumps) yet not a single tadpole survived as the pond lining split and the pond leaked.

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Reformed Teetotaller


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2019 at 12:08pm
Oh no what a sad ending! Have you laid a new liner?

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Suz


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 5:42pm
Couple of frogs swirled off in my largest pond this morning. Temps are up...10degC today. Will have a look tonight and see what's about.

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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 12:13am


Anything happening now Suzy?

A second warm, damp night here. The scene looks like it's starting to get set so i checked the ponds earlier and there were around 10 scattered males resting quietly, plus a 'gay' couple. However, it's normal to find low numbers of frogs throughout the year on all but the coldest days/nights.
My partner claims to have heard calling today, but in this sector at the mo, it seems all quiet on the south-western front.

I see frog spawn was photographed in Truro on 4th Feb though.


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2019 at 12:29am
No Ben..temps fell a bit this evening and all I saw was one palmate.

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Suz


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 5:20pm
Mmm now I'm not sure they were frogs the other day. Today I went out and there was much disturbance on the surface in the pondweed and I thought a frog, BUT it was one, or maybe two, palmate thrashing about. Having said that there was one trail of bubbles going off underwater the other day, like you get from a frog but not a newt! I will just have to have a proper sighting before I get over excited about frogs again! I did watch several times today as it was sunny and 10 degC (after zero this morning) but nothing moving except the newt/s.

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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2019 at 1:40pm
Yippee!! Frog spawn (though not from the garden).

Several clumps at 'Comma' stage, seen near Looe on Valentine's Day (some friends also reported finding lots of spawn across Dartmoor the same day):





Nearby, i scored a personal first for an interesting and beautiful plant species too.

The 'regular' form (itself classed as 'uncommon' or 'local') of Toothwort Lathraea squamaria is parasitic on Hazel. The shorter and less frequent Purple Toothwort Lathraea clandestina occurs in a different habitat - very damp woodlands - because the host is usually Alder or Willow:












Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2019 at 6:21pm
very nice!

lots of frog activity here but no spawn as yet


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2019 at 9:18pm
At the comma stage! So that must be a week or two old by now.
Love the purple toothwort. Have only seen the other sort in hazel/oak woods in Yorkshire. A magical sight as it was everywhere I looked. Never seen any since.
I now feel a bit embarrassed posting this image which I took a few minutes ago, as we now have spawn images. I didn't know it was there as I just shoot off shots and then come indoors and look at them on my laptop. It is a warm night at 9degC so I was surprised not more frog action. 



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Suz


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2019 at 10:00pm
Just been out for another pond look and found the above frog, or one very similar, in the same spot but closely snuggled with another frog! Hurrah!

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Suz


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2019 at 10:36pm
No need to be embarrassed at the quality of the photo - this is the best I can do (too cold to be wandering around the garden...) I count 9, but it is very cold out there...




Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 16 Feb 2019 at 11:09pm
Nine wow! Lucky you.

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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 17 Feb 2019 at 9:29am
"A magical sight as it was everywhere I looked." Wow, i've only seen Toothwort a handful of times and never in profusion! What a spectacle that must have been. I've read that the species is declining though i don't know why - Hazel is as common as ever of course.

Checked the garden last night and things were hotting up. Quite a few frogs now including some pairings and the animals in my larger pond were making quite a commotion with their calling. I must get a sound recording of it this year!




Spring is springing.
Love hearing your updates, please keep em coming folks (anyone else?)!


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 22 Feb 2019 at 9:52am
Just been outside here in East Devon and see there is a clump of spawn in the small pond...where the frogs were photographed the other night. I did see them in there last night as well. No signs of spawn in the other two ponds.

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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 22 Feb 2019 at 4:44pm
Good to hear all.

Some spawn appeared in my garden last night. Noticed there are quite a few folded Watercress leaves earlier too.



It's been a very warm and sunny day here, i wouldn't have been surprised to see a slow worm.

Wonderful Grass Snake observation from Valentine's Day:

https://www.ispotnature.org/communities/uk-and-ireland/view/observation/776061/stvalentines-day-grass-snake-er-                                                                                 
     
                                                                                                                                  


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 22 Feb 2019 at 7:57pm
lovely looking pond, lots of damp shady areas



Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 24 Feb 2019 at 5:55pm
Thanks Chubsta! Yes, mindful of prowling cats, foxes etc, i saw to it that amphibians leaving the ponds find immediate shelter (and food). There are piles of selected rocks and dead wood, every item meeting the twin criteria of suitability for refuge and beauty. They tend to be broad and irregular with lots of 'nooks and crannies', while weathered and shapely. There's also a low bank covered with a range of well-established native species of fern, plus pond-side Flag Iris and clumps of indigenous sedges such as Pendulous Sedge. Hidden beneath the ferns are further rocks and logs. The (open-sided) compost heap is also just a hop or two away.

Loads of exciting action frog-wise at the moment. Night before last i counted around 70 frogs at the surface (probably a few more under the vegetation and
around the garden).

I'm chuffed!






Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 24 Feb 2019 at 8:41pm
Fantastic! That's actually frog soup!

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Suz


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2019 at 7:39am
Great to see things hotting up in ponds!  Ben, I could swear that looks like a GCN in the middle of your fern photo, just to the right of the light coloured vertical leaf blade.  Or maybe I should go to specsavers!


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2019 at 10:25am
Went for a dog walk last night through some local woods - there is a very fast flowing stream which has the odd slow pool, in one of the shallow ones we saw at least twenty newts moving about - have never seen a newt in there before! Unfortunately, due to poor light we couldn't get any photos but they were very lovely to see


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 27 Feb 2019 at 11:08am
Will, I spotted that mystery object as well and wondered what it was!
We have had frosty nights after the sunny days so that seems to have put a damper on the frogs.


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Suz


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2019 at 10:19am
At least another two clumps of spawn have appeared here overnight. I say at least, as possibly there are more but all fused into one heap. It was a very mild night so I half expected more would be laid.

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Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2019 at 11:55am
Still no spawn here yet though frog numbers are still increasing. Cooler and grey here today, but the rain seems to have encouraged a big influx of smooth newts overnight. Had only seen a couple in the pond over the past few weeks, now we have loads of them and very active despite the cool day.



Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2019 at 2:47pm
Having seen more spawn first thing this morning, I was surprised a couple of hours later to open the back door and hear frogs croaking. There were no visible frogs first thing. I had a watch with binoculars from a distance and counted seventeen altogether. They're still there thrashing and croaking, but some seem to have already gone as there are only a dozen now. 
I know some of you get more than this. but it's the most I've ever had, so I am dead chuffed.


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Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 02 Mar 2019 at 1:20pm
First clump of spawn for 2019 this morning




Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 02 Mar 2019 at 5:09pm
Great to see/hear all, and you're as eagle-eyed as ever Will (and Suzy).

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?




As in other years, for observation i put a tiny bit of spawn in a receptacle on the window sill. That was two days ago and they're tadpoles already.



Went for a walk in a suburban park this afternoon. There were marsh marigolds in flower and i found spawn at 3 locations, two of which were tiny, temporary pools.
Although as Suzy says, it's difficult to estimate when there's spawn on spawn and some of it has swelled, i'd estimate one of these 'puddle ponds' had 80-100 clumps.







Posted By: Suzy
Date 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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Suz


Posted By: chubsta
Date 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!



Posted By: will
Date 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
 


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.



Posted By: will
Date 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...)


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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.


Posted By: will
Date 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...?


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date 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!



Posted By: will
Date 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.
 


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 07 Mar 2019 at 12:45am
Finally! Pond is still teeming with frogs each night so hopefully this is just the beginning...




Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 07 Mar 2019 at 7:48am
Brilliant! Not sure if ours are done this year. Had the one clump then a few more and it all seems a bit quiet. If they are done spawn clumps are lower than previous years but it all looks healthy enough so fingers crossed for a good year for the tadpoles. Opted this year not to raise any indoors, have to see how they do on their own.


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 12:48pm
Rather surprised to see that the clump of spawn I transferred to my new small pond is at the comma stage. Seemed a bit quick.
The oldest clump is in the pond where all the frogs congregated and I know which clump it is. I gently pushed some duckweed off it, but was unable to see the spawn with the glare on the water so I photographed it and blew it up on the computer. Was pleased to see the tadpoles are just emerging from the spawn. 
So this week some will be free swimming.
Like Gemma I'm not intervening this year (except moving the one clump).


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Suz


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 5:51pm
After a very slow start, in which most others in the village were reporting spawn ages before mine appeared, the frogs seem to have got their act together this afternoon - in the teeth of a gale they managed to lay a good proportion of this lot...





Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 10 Mar 2019 at 5:54pm
Wow Chubsta how many clumps is that?!
Because of the duckweed on my spawn pond I can't see exactly how many clumps...but I had 17 or so frogs so maybe about 6 or 8 clumps seems right.


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Suz


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 14 Mar 2019 at 1:00am
Wow Chubsta lots of spawn! Inspected ours today and though it's been quite cool and blustery plenty of comma shaped embryos and signs of hatching. Was a little surprised to see an adult male slow worm right out in the open today catching what little sun there was. Very rare to see them in the garden unless it is under felt or the plastic sheet on the compost heap.


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 14 Mar 2019 at 9:31am
So tadpoles coming on in various places...
Yes Gemma, I next to never see slow worms unless under covers. 


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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 16 Mar 2019 at 9:01am
Your thoughts on the 'unusual' frog markings are well-reasoned and seem pretty compelling to me Will.
However if the cause is as Gemma suspects, environmental, a link with air pollution crossed my mind. Since this is a problem of recent times, primarily in the built up areas where garden ponds are (less so in the wider countryside) and is now well in excess of levels deemed safe by the WHO.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             I think i read recently that it's responsible for more early human fatalities - 64,000 a year - than smoking.

And of course, frogs have sensitive skins.                          

Only a thought!                                                !                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                                                                 


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 18 Mar 2019 at 5:22pm
I have free swimming tadpoles in one small pond now. The duckweedy pond I notice one clump where all the spawn is dead. I can't easily see the other clumps but what I can see doesn't look dead, and I saw formed tadpoles last week so they are probably somewhere in the pond. Would be nice to have some sun to make it easier to see into the ponds!

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Suz


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 18 Mar 2019 at 8:04pm
I normally see two 'waves' of frogspawn, the first is quite early, and the second should appear towards the end of April - is this the same everywhere? 
I understand the reasons for this as it means in a warm spring they develop quicker but there is always the chance of late frosts which could kill the spawn, but wonder if it is limited to the very South East where we have perhaps more unstable weather than for instance in the South West where it seems temperatures are less likely to be extreme.


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 18 Mar 2019 at 8:09pm
Ben - regarding the differing colourations, could it be that the extra cover offered by gardens, and the perhaps reduced predation, albeit at the expense of being exposed to more chemicals, could result in the survival of animals that are more brightly coloured than normal? The countryside these days is very bland generally whereas a frog with reddish stripes would not necessarily stand out amongst brightly coloured flower beds.

Aside from the usual cat casualties, and the froglets being eaten by blackbirds etc, I would imagine the causes of death for adult frogs in gardens would be almost solely of human origin, so visibility wouldn't really be an issue.


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 18 Mar 2019 at 11:50pm
Chubsta where my parents lived in Yorkshire they had two phases of toads spawning I think it was. I will check with my brother on this but I think it was toads. I am talking about hundreds and hundreds of toads breeding in large ponds. 

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Suz


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2019 at 6:55am
@Chubsta - that's what I was suggesting - ie that there is relaxed selection pressure in the garden compared with the wider countryside that allows alleles for odd/bright colouration to persist at higher frequencies than usual.

@Ben - thanks, I'm not against the idea that environmental factors might trigger genes for odd colouration epistatically, as well. I'd just like someone to do the research into whether frogs in urban areas are genuinely odder/brighter than 'wilder' ones and if so, why? Also, why females are brighter/more diverse in colour than males - though that question might be easier to answer, ie females spend far less time in the grey/brown murk of ponds and hence don't need to be so well camouflaged against this background.


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 23 Mar 2019 at 3:24pm
Hmmm...seems to be a little confusion here. I agree with you both and have done all along.
                                                                             
I was only er...pondering other possible explanations because Gemma's comments suggested to me (perhaps wrongly) that she suspected the 'unusual'
colours might be a cause for concern and signify a more sinister cause.                                                                                                                                                          


Posted By: will
Date Posted: 23 Mar 2019 at 6:23pm
Hi Ben

I think I'm agreeing with everyone too! just wanting someone to investigate (give me a fat grant and I'll do it.. )


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 26 Mar 2019 at 4:57pm
stuck in bed for a few days with a bad back so can’t see for myself but apparently the first tadpoles have hatched and there are big foamy clumps of them on the spawn. it has been very warm and sunny so i’m sure the rest won’t be far behind


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 28 Mar 2019 at 11:28am
Sorry to hear you're out of action Chubsta.
My new small pond taddies are doing well. Really liking basking in the sun these past few days (taddies and me). They seem to be growing each day. Seen several newts in this pond as well, egg laying/displaying. 


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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 30 Mar 2019 at 12:26am
Yes, hope you're back tadpole watching soon Chubsta.

Glad to hear you both have taddies doing well.

Still hearing a few male frogs calling from the pond, long after the last traces of spawn have disappeared. Hard to say how it fared as the pond is well vegetated and any attempt to part the vegetation stirs up clouds of sediment.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 31 Mar 2019 at 10:42pm
Little concerned here as though we saw the spawn hatch, no signs yet of any free swimming taddies. Hope I don't live to regret not giving them a helping hand this year. Does very little to reassure me that the environment these days in rural East Anglia is a good place for common frogs. 


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 12:22pm
Let's hope Gemma that they are thriving unseen...
After being mostly dry for weeks we are getting some rain here - and hail and sleet. Last night it was forecast to do quite a bit of heavy rain, so I felt I had to bail out the new small pond in case rain caused it to overflow and the taddies went over the edge in a deluge. This is one thing with rigid preforms - they do have a hard edge that can lead to overflowing. Someone on here had his taddies all go over the top the other year I recall. Unfortunately I only remembered this potential rescue mission as the light was fading, so I had to shoot out and get my white washing up bowl and a scooping container and start operations. I put my head torch on too in case light failed. As it is only a small pond I only needed to scoop out a small amount of water to lower the level to a hopefully safe level. The white bowl meant I could see if I'd scooped up any wildlife, which I would then have returned. In the event it hardly rained!
The taddies are doing very well and it is lovely to see them, which I can't in the duckweed pond, but trust they are still there.


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Suz


Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 04 Apr 2019 at 3:29pm
Suzy, I think it was me who sadly had thousands go over during a rainstorm a couple of years back - my solution to this problem is that the 'waterfall' only occurs in one small area so I have put in loads of thick plants which will hopefully act as a form of sieve and allow water through but stop the majority of tadpoles. We also had a lot of hail and rain last night and the pond did overflow as expected but no sign of any tadpoles going out, although I guess they are still too small to be at risk as they tending to stay at the other end of the pond to finish eating the jelly and some dead spawn.

Quick question - are newts a big predator of tadpoles? At our other house we put a small pond in last year into which I put a couple of clumps of my spawn (I know you aren't suppose to do such things but we have never seen any frogs in the garden and wanted to help start a population). The tadpoles have hatched but we have at least a couple of newts in the pond and my other half thinks the numbers of tadpoles are going down and is blaming the newts!


Posted By: Suzy
Date 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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Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date 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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 



Posted By: Suzy
Date 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


Posted By: chubsta
Date 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


Posted By: Suzy
Date 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.


-------------
Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date 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!






Posted By: Caleb
Date 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:
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02137323" rel="nofollow - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02137323

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.


Posted By: will
Date 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


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date 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!       


Posted By: chubsta
Date 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...


Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 9:54am
In an amateur fashion I've recorded/observed garden badgers, bats, birds, crab spiders, herps - including pond life. I've seen behaviour you won't read about in books, even going against what you can read in books. As you say Chubsta you never stop learning. There is nothing like observing really.
Going back to newts eating spawn...I fished a new clump out of my pond the other year to hand rear it and right in the midst of the clump was a palmate newt. 


-------------
Suz


Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 23 May 2019 at 11:48pm
Quite a few frogs hanging about pond-side earlier (as usual).
Thought this was a striking individual with it's bold leg bands and almost blue-black tinge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                        



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