Monday, May 23, 2011

Toads and Friends

Before this foggy thunderstorm rolled into Duluth, the amphibians were very busy.  In the last two weeks, three species have begun calling: Northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens), American toad (Bufo americanus), and gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor).

Around Boulder Lake, the Northern leopard frogs started and finished calling in just four days. This species is considered an early breeding species, but tends to breed at few weeks after wood frogs in the northern reaches of Minnesota.
Adult Northern leopard frog
I only heard this species calling for one day and found eggs on the same day. We got a frost the night after I found these eggs, which seems to have damaged more than 50% of the embryos.  Each leopard frog lays up to 3,000 eggs, so there were plenty of tadpoles hatching late last week despite this frost damage.  

Amercian toad calling 
American toads began breeding late last week.
One day after hearing this species calling for the first time, American toads were calling in a full chorus and multiple pairs were laying eggs in the backwaters off of Boulder Lake.

Listen to this chorus of American toads heard last Friday May 20th:

Multiple pairs of American toads in amplexus (and some males)

American toads lay long double strings of eggs, which hatch in 2-8 days depending on water temperature.
Pair of american toads in amplexus (male on back of female)
-notice the strings of eggs under the pair-

American toad eggs - freshly laid

Gray treefrogs started calling last week, and Western chorus frogs and spring peepers continued to call.

Although spring peepers were in full chorus in Duluth city limits in late April, in some locations this species did not start calling until last week. A full chorus of spring peepers is so loud that it makes my ears ring after standing by the wetland for five minutes.
Spring peeper
Listen to this chorus of spring peepers heard last Wednesday May 18th:

1 comment:

  1. Spring Peepers were loud enough to make my ears ring up in the Ely area last weekend. Occasional outbursts during the day were also entertaining, especially the first couple of 'peeps,' which seemed a bit hoarse as the frog warmed up.

    It's been a lot of fun to watch this blog and try to make some sense out of all the calling this spring. Thank you!