|Harbinger of Spring- Click to enlarge|
We had received a call from Rhonda Rimer of the Missouri Department of Conservation who wanted to come to Bull Creek to check out our amphibians. She was hoping to find wood frog eggs which look somewhat similar to spotted salamander eggs that also also appear February or March. She also wanted to sample for chytrid fungus. This was a good excuse to avoid work.
|Newts look like bait!|
This new finding quickly took on great importance as it appears able to infect virtually all amphibians. It is now proven to cause severe population declines and extinctions and has been called “the worst infectious disease ever recorded among vertebrates in terms of the number of species impacted, and it’s propensity to drive them to extinction." (Gascon et al, 2007)
Rhonda is sampling amphibians around the Ozarks as part of a Missouri-wide screening. She began by wading into the muck of our pond, sweeping the bottom debris into a large net. We hit pay dirt, counting 27 central newts clustered along the sunny side with none in the shaded colder water. One net full of debris yielded the 10 squirming males, apparently a fraternity party preparing for the arrival of the females.
|Swabbing for Bd|
|Egg clusters on sticks underwater|
|Our spotted salamander eggs|
|Salamander (left) and frog eggs- NY DEC|
It was a great day in nature, even if we did have to miss a day of working in the woods.
More on herp eggs? (Frog and salamander) Check out this site.