Saturday, April 5, 2008

The wetter, the better

I'm finding that rain is nice.

What would, any other year, be a reason to stay indoors and wish for sunny skies' return, has become an invitation to go out.
Over the puddled pasture, now lush green tufts of tender field grasses, I step slowly along.
The water's chill felt through my boots on dry, warm toes inside.

No wood frogs tonight--only peepers and chorus frogs. The coppery adults, who floated, days earlier, effortlessly on the surface of wood pool, have silently gone.
But their eggs have come to life.

By the hundreds and thousands, the tadpoles cluster upon the bright green, algae-filled gelatinous masses. In writhing huddles, they wriggle.
Their safety, each other.


Now, the race begins.
To leave, as all wood frogs do--
before summer empties this pool.

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13 comments:

mon@rch said...

Wow, congrats on the tadpoles and we have not even had eggs laid yet!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What fun seeing all those tadpoles. I think it is amazing how fast they grow into frogs. I hope they make it.

Old Wom Tigley said...

I have not seen that many since I was a young lad fishing with an old stocking and a jam jar... just the sight of these have taken me back ove 40 years..

Jennifer said...

Wow... Awesome photos. I wish "my" vernal pool were closer than a 9 mile drive to the Center followed by a 1 mile hike into the woods.

Island Rambles Blog said...

Nina you always find the most unique natural thingy...how you are getting such good photos of tadpoles just amazes me..and inspires me to go look for tadpoles or some such thing...;-), love your smile on your picture. cheers.

Eco Enthusiast said...

Your photo reminded me of when I was little and collected a glassful of tadpoles and showed them to my mom. She freaked out, saying it was full of germs. Kind of thwarted my nature studies but luckily I returned to looking for them when older.

Tom said...

Nina- Are you sure these aren't salamander larvae? Those external gills look mighty suspicious. I'm not sure what they are, but worth further investigation for sure.

Tom

Tom said...

Nina- Ok, I looked again, and I REALLY think they are salamander larvae. Tadpoles don't have external gills, and the body shape is way off for a tadpole. And see how they have a head, than a body, and then a distinct long tail? A frog tadpole doesn't have the separation between the head and the body- they are just body and tail. These pictures are of salamander larvae! And very young ones at that, very cool shots!

Tom

nina said...

Ok, Tom--Now I'm really confused! These egg masses were the first I found March 13, and identified as Woodfrogs'.
I'll go back and investigate further--could it be that these are hatched salamander larva --Jeffersons'-- feeding at woodfrog masses? Or are the egg masses salamanders'?? If so, where are the woodfrogs' eggs? (Because I've watched the woodfrogs laying eggs here)
Gosh, this just gets murkier and murkier!

I guess I should be pleased that so MUCH is here and not fuss at IDing it. But, I really wish I knew a bit more.

nina said...

Tom--an update.
I've scurried home and back to the pool (after reading GOBS of tadpole info online today).
Here's what I think is going on.
They are indeed tadpoles. (They look more tadpole-y today)
Today, they seem to be less-obviously gilled. And, what I've read says that in the first 24 hours after hatching, tadpoles' gills go from being external to having a flap of skin encase them (internal gills,until lungs develop) So, if these were in the very early stages, perhaps gills are showing?
And, I've re-examined all the masses I have here--right now, I have wood frogs hatching out, Jeffersons' about to pop, and spotteds coming along nicely. Checked the envelopes to be sure what I'm calling salamanders really are, too!

What a difference a day makes--they sure are cute, friendly little buggers--cuddling right up to my hand and snuggling in between my fingers!!

Like having a thousand best-friends!

Tom said...

Nina- Ok, that makes sense. It would be interesting to catch a few and raise them in captivity to document their development, but I guess you are doing that in the pond itself. Awesome. And it certainly would make sense that the very young frogs would have primitive characteristics. Just like us humans have tails and webbed feet when we are fetuses. Very, very interesting stuff indeed!

Tom

nina said...

Tom, I've done exactly that. I set up a tank yesterday and acclimated them this morning. I've got probably 50 woodfrog tadpoles and will add 10 Jeffs today. The spotteds are still not ready--ok to leave in pool for a bit more.
But now, with their forms silhouetted against the glass, they're really cool to watch!
I'll keep you posted :-)

Beth said...

I have really enjoyed all of your vernal pool posts.