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Salamander and Frog Emergence Time by Richard Bartlett on 2023-01-23 01:07:00


A quacking call and "robbers" mask identifies the earthen colored Wood Frog.

By now herpers in the north east must be anxious for spring to arrive, and for herpers in the south-land it is probably already here. With the blooming of the spring flowers and the budding of the hardier trees comes the emergence of the hardiest species of amphibians.

To fish-free, vernal, woodland and country waterholes come several species of Mole Salamanders. Among these are Spotted Salamanders, Ambystoma maculatum, Blue’spotted Salamanders, Ambystoma laterale, Jefferson’s Salamanders, Ambystoma jeffersonianum, Wood Frogs, Rana sylvatica, and Spring Peepers, Pseudacris crucifer.

These species often begin their breeding cycles while ice still rims the ponds and snow yet remains, patchy but not yet forgotten.

The quacking vocalizations of the dark-masked Wood Frogs, Rana sylvatica, and strident peeping of the aptly named, tiny, but very vocal Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer, advertise the anurans presence, but that the silent salamanders are there and active may first be noticed by sighting their characteristic gelatinous egg masses.

Of the salamanders, it is the beautiful but variably patterned Spotted species that is most easily seen. The yellow, sometimes orangish, spots from which the name is derived may be profuse, present in moderation, or almost missing. The other two salamanders mentioned are of earthen colors with variably contrasting blue(ish) spots along the sides.

When any of these are seen or heard, we can be relatively certain that while chilly days and cold nights might still prevail, warmer weather is actually right around the corner--or maybe 2 corners.
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