Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring peeper & Toads

What: I can now hear the chorus of American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) in the retention pond under the power lines in Centennial Woods, which is about .2 miles from my house. There are fewer gray treefrogs this year, but the trade off is a solitary spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) and a solitary bullfrog, Lithobates catesbeiana (you can barely hear the bullfrog around 55 seconds in to the video), both are firsts for me in the last 4 years of monitoring amphibians in Centennial Woods. The wood frogs are no longer making any noises.

Ecological notes: Toads sing when the temps get around 60 degrees or higher. The recent rains seems to have brought out more of them. If these temps keep up, we should start seeing some fireflies in the near future! I was also surprised to see a beaver swimming around in the retention pond. I haven't seen them this far from Centennial Brook before. This one slapped its tail at me three times indicating that it might be an different beaver than the three that live in the brook that know me much better.

Where: Centennial Woods power line retention pond

Other notes: The taxonomic groups of bullfrogs, spring peepers and toads have recently been changed. When a species gets moved to another genus it keeps its specific epithet (the second part of the latin binomial). The former names for the three are Rana catesbeiana, Hyla crucifer and Bufo americanus, the bold parts changed, the non-bold parts remain the same by convention. I personally prefer the old names for reasons outlined quite well in this article on the taxonomy of treefrogs: Pseudacris vs Hyla

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