Monday, June 16, 2014
I came across this (very large) female toad sitting on a stump in the woods. She is fairly colorful for an American toad. In two days, I'll be doing an "indoor field trip" for fourth and fifth graders, so she went for a ride with me to be a part of the fun.
She was placed in a terrarium with dark mud, some leaves, etc. Within an hour, and much to my surprise, she was a very different-looking toad. The field color had turned dark, chocolate-brown, spots containing the warts were still nearly black, and the only white left on her was the belly.
This doesn't come as a complete surprise. Amphibians are quite variable in their coloration and I've always sort of assumed there was variability at the individual level among different species. However, it's the first time I've seen an American toad make this rapid and drastic a change.
Now I wonder about those yellow green frogs...
~ MR Burne
Monday, March 31, 2014
I had the pleasure of the company of Mrs. Waldrip's 8th grade science class from Malden's Ferryway School, along with a whole cadre of parents, in addition to a good number of other folks out for the night. All told, we had about 40 people in attendance. I think that outnumbered the salamanders we saw, but sometimes, that's ok. The big win is for a bunch of city kids to go out, close to home, and see the annual spring amphibian migration.
Thanks go to the DCR for arranging a Ranger to be there, and to the Friends of the Fells. ~ MR Burne
Sunday, March 30, 2014
It turns out that in one population in eastern Massachusetts, there is a good number of spottless salamanders (would that be A. nonmaculaum?). Every year I turn up at least one at this particular site. This fellow had four very small spots, one of which is visible mid-way down the tail. The others happen to be on the side facing away from the camera.
Hmm. I find at least one at this pool every year. Salamanders live 10 or 12 years in the wild. Hmm... Wonder if I have any pictures of him from last year...
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Reports of spotted salamanders, blue-spotted salamanders, redbacks, wood frogs, and spring peepers are starting to trickle in from observers around Massachusetts, and the weekend's weather promises to get spring going in a big way.
So we seem to be under way with the great spring amphibian migrations. Get out and enjoy!