Monday, December 05, 2005

Why all the in-situ photographs? It was a chilly morning, and I credit the low temperatures for leaving the hiding frogs and salamanders cool and slow. I didn't have to restrain them to take my pictures, since they just sat there for a few moments before trying to get away.

These are from my September 24, 2005 trip to a State Game Land along Jordan Creek in Berks County. It was, as you can see in my post about the trip, a REALLY productive day for the amphibians. It had been a dry month, and they were concentrated along the bank under the flat shale rocks that are so perfect for flipping over.

Now that I look at all the pictures, I realize I should have taken one of a rock before flipping. You can see their outlines in the dark, damp imprints around the frogs or salamanders. Here is a picture of the creek. Not a bad spot to spend a morning.

The most common were smallish (1.5 to 2 inches) pickerel frogs (Rana palustris).

They grow to about twice the size of the ones I was catching, which does make me wonder where all the big ones were hiding. Were they under bigger pieces of cover? Are they less vulnerable to dessication, and thus not so powerfully driven to the edge of the water by the drought?

Most started off a little buried into the gravel and mud. You can see that in this before and after pair.

I found a few green frogs (Rana clamitans melanota) - again about half as big as what I usually count as adults.

I found a lot of salamanders too. I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of the two-lined salamanders (Eurycea bislineata), but I did get one of this longtailed salamander (Eurycea longicaudia).

I wandered up a dry stream bed from the creek and looked under some logs. I found this redbacked salamander (Plethodon cinereus), one of the first of the fall.

Here's someone who was hopping right out in the open. This is a Fowlers toad (Bufo fowleri). I find lots of these, and this is one of the most yellow I've seen. Maybe it's dirty, I didn't wash it off to check, but I'm curious about how much they vary by substrate.