Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wood frogs engaged in amplexus, the male grabs the female from the top - from this position the female lays eggs and the male fertilizes them, externally.
   
     A little something for your Valentine's Day. This is from April 2007, back when I was an educator/naturalist at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center. Spring had just sprung and the wood frogs were literally on top of their biological duties. So I hope, like these two wood frogs, you are feeling the love this Valentine's Day. It should be fairly soon though that our amphibian friends start making their appearances for the spring!
      Once it is warm enough, amphibian breeding season begins, so all those cute frog calls are really just male frogs trying to, well, you know... Female frogs and toads can lay hundred of eggs at a time and like I said, the male fertilizes them externally. Small vernal pools (pools of water that will disappear after spring) can be teeming with frogs and toads trying to pass on their genes - the day I took this photo, there were more than just this pair. So as a result, a small pool can have thousands of tadpoles in them, which makes it an interesting place to spot wildlife because they are attractive to predators, and, with time, those that do survive go through metamorphosis and become a mini adult. A tiny pond can be such a neat little place!

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!