Two of many wood frogs we came across in a local pond. The wood frogs arrived at this pond to breed about three weeks earlier in 2016 than in previous years.
The sperm deposits of the male Spotted Salamander remind us of tiny volcanoes. The deposits, known as spermatophores, are left by the male in hopes that a female will be enticed to use them to fertilize her eggs. These one we temporarily removed from the water to get a better photo.
Sometimes the males will lay spermatophores on top of others to try and beat out the competition.
At a site that we monitor for the migration of the Spotted Salamander we came across these egg masses that were present a full three weeks before we usually see them here. We also saw wood frog egg masses, again much earlier than normal.
Amphibians, like Spotted Salamanders, are a good species to track to measure the quality and changing nature of the local environment. No doubt this winter has been mild, so whether this is a long-term trend or just an unusual coincidence only time will tell.