Toad Tuesday

Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Pelobates syriacus)

spadefoot.jpeg
photo by  Omid Mozaffari

least concern
Common Name: Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Syrian Spadefoot Toad
Scientific Name: Pelobates syriacus
Family: Pelobatidae – European Spadefoot Toad
Locations: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Syria, and Turkey
Size: 3.5 inches

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad is found in Eastern Europe and in Western Asia. Like all spadefoot toads, they have an inner metatarsal tubercle aka the spade on their rear feet. The Eastern Spadefoot Toad’s spade is yellow in color. They use these spades to burrow deep into the ground but they can also use rodent burrows. They come out of these burrows to hunt at night, eating insects, spiders, mollusks, and arthropods.

 

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Other Amphibian of the Week

Dwarf Waterdog (Necturus punctatus)

waterdog
photo by Todd Pierson

least concern
Common Name: Dwarf Waterdog
Scientific Name: Necturus punctatus
Family: Proteidae
Locations: United States – Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Size: 7.5 inches

The Dwarf Waterdog is the smallest species of genus Necturus. Like all members of the species, they are aquatic and keep their gills throughout their life. Not much is known about the reproductive behaviors of the waterdog but it is believed they mate in winter. The eggs are later laid in spring from March to May. The females lay around 15 to 50 eggs. Nothing is known about nesting sites, how long it takes the eggs to hatch, or any courtship behaviors.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Montgomery Montgomery

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Each week a “Herper” of the Week is chosen. These individuals come from all sorts of backgrounds but they all have one common interest – “herps” (reptiles and amphibians). Hopefully, you will learn about them and their important work.

The Herper of this Week is the late Dr. Montgomery Montgomery, a brilliant herpetologist and the man who discovered the Incredible Deadly Viper. The Incredible Deadly Viper is actually a misnomer and it is one of the least dangerous and most friendly creatures in the animal kingdom. Dr. Montgomery was planning on playing a trick on the Hematological Society before he died where he would pretend to lose the snake during a conference. Dr. Montgomery Montgomery had numerous pet reptiles and was an excellent caretaker of them.

Note: Dr. Montgomery Montgomery is a fictional character from A Series of Unfortunate Events. This is a joke.

 

tree frog thursday

Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona)

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photo by Todd Pierson

least concern
Common Name: Mountain Chorus Frog
Scientific Name: Pseudacris brachyphona
Family: Hylidae – Tree Frog family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania
Size: 1.25 inches

The Mountain Chorus Frog is found in and around the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. The frog starts breeding when they wake up from their hibernation generally around late February and early March. The males call sounds like reeking sound. Females can lay 300 to 1500 eggs in a clutch. No parental care has been reported in the Mountain Chorus Frog. The eggs hatch in 7-10 days and the tadpoles undergo metamorphosis in a month or two. The Mountain Chorus Frog is a terrestrial species of tree frog. They spend most of their time on the ground.

Toad Tuesday

Coastal Plains Toad (Incilius nebulifer)

coastalplainstoad
photo by Kevin Young

least concern
Common Name: Coastal Plains Toad
Scientific Name: Incilius nebulifer
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Location: Mexico and the United States
US Locations: Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi
Size: 5 inches

The Coastal Plains Toad used to be part of the Gulf Coast Toad (Incilius valliceps) species but was split off due to genetic testing. It is still kinda confusing even though it happened over 20 years ago.

The spring and summer rains bring the males out to start calling to attract females. They will breed in a variety of still-water sources such as ponds, wetlands, and roadside ditches. Females can lay up to 20,000 eggs in a clutch and have been observed to lay two clutches in extended breeding seasons. Neither the male or female show any parental care towards the eggs. The eggs will hatch in a day or two and the tadpoles will complete metamorphosis in 20 to 30 days.

The Coastal Plains Toad has adapted alright to the urbanization of their habitat. They have been observed to hide under concrete slabs and in cracks and holes of sidewalks.

Herper of the week

Herper of the Week: Dr. Julia E. Earl

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Each week a “Herper” of the Week is chosen. These individuals come from all sorts of backgrounds but they all have one common interest – “herps” (reptiles and amphibians). Hopefully, you will learn about them and their important work.

The Herper of this Week is Dr. Julia E. Earl, assistant professor of aquatic ecology at the Louisiana Tech University. She earned her Ph.D in  Biological Sciences in 2012 from the University of Missouri . Her dissertation focused on the effects of leaves from forests on pond ecosystems and amphibians.

Her lab focuses on a few different topics. One of the topics is the effect of Ranavirus on population dynamics. Dr. Earl created population models of the Dusky Gopher Frog, Wood Frog, and the Boreal Toad to explore if the introduction of Ranavirus could cause population extinctions. She also studies climate changes effects on animals’ long-distance movement paths including bison, coyotes, and deer. In relation to amphibians, she researches the different forestry practices and how they affect amphibians in hopes of protecting amphibians while still reaching the forestry goals.

You can visit her website at https://sites.google.com/site/juliaeearl/home and visit her twitter at @Julia_E_Earl

Other Amphibian of the Week

Varagua Caecilian (Gymnopis multiplicata)

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photo by Todd Pierson

least concern
Common Name: Varagua Caecilian
Scientific Name: Gymnopis multiplicata
Family: Dermophiidae
Locations: Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
Size: 2 inches

Like most caecilian species, the Varagua Caecilian is a mysterious species of caecilian that not much is known about. They are a fossorial species, spending most of their time underground, even up to 3 meters deep. The Varagua Caecilian is thought to be viviparous, giving birth to live young. The offspring feed off the nutrient secretions from the mother after they use up the yolk while still inside of the mother. The offspring complete metamorphosis while still inside the mother. The mothers are pregnant for 11 months before giving birth.

 

 

Frog of the Week

Reticulated Glass Frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi)

glassfrog
least concern
Common Name: Reticulated Glass Frog, Valerio’s Glass Frog, La Palma Glass Frog, and Ranita de Vidrio
Scientific Name: Hyalinobatrachium valerioi
Family: Centrolenidae – Glass Frog Family
Locations: Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama
Size: 1 inch

Like most Glass Frogs from the family Centrolenidae, the Reticulated Glass Frog is a highly arboreal species of frogs, rarely leaving the trees that are their home. They will even lay their eggs on leaves overhanging streams. Breeding for the Reticulated Glass Frog takes place during the wet season. Males will carve out territories and start calling. If another male enters the territory, the male will send out calls to tell the intruder to go away. If the intruder does not leave, a fight will break out that could lead to death. After mating, the female will lay around 30 eggs on the underside of leaves overhanging streams. She will then leave the eggs but the males will protect and guard them from enemies such as wasps. They will even pee on them to keep them moist. Parental care is not often seen in glass frogs.

The Reticulated Glass Frog can be found in the pet trade. They can be hard to take care of so you shouldn’t get one if you are a beginner to frogs. They are nocturnal so you won’t see them much during the day since they hide under leaves. No more than one male can be housed together at a time or they could fight and kill each other. The Reticulated Glass Frog doesn’t have the longest lifespan, averaging between 5-8 years in captivity, obviously with better care maybe longer. If you still want to buy one, make sure it is captive bred, to help protect wild ones. Also never release any pet frog into the wild if you can no longer take care of it.

Uncategorized

Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)

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photo by John D. Wilson

least concern
Common Name: Spring Salamander
Scientific Name: Gyrinophilus porphyriticus
Family: Plethodontidae – Lungless Salamanders
Locations: Canada and the United States
US Locations: Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia
Size: 9 inches record length, generally only 7 inches

The Spring Salamander is found in and around cool mountain springs, creeks, and seeps. They can spend time under logs, stones, and leaves near the springs. They are noted as being hard to find even with their wide range. Few egg masses from the Spring Salamander has been found because the eggs are laid in underground recesses in the springs.

 

Toad Tuesday

Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus)

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photo by the USGS

least concern
Common Name: Oak Toad
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus quercicus
Family: Bufonidae – True Toad Family
Locations: United States – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia
Size: 1.25 inches max

The Oak Toad is the smallest toad in North America, not even reaching 2 inches when it is fully grown. They are also interesting in the fact that they are mostly diurnal, active during the day, while most true toads in North America are nocturnal, active during the night.

Breeding takes place from April to September, depending on the arrival of the heavy, warm rains. The mating call of the males sound like baby chickens. While the Oak Toad is small, the female can lay up to 700 eggs. Tadpoles hatch from their eggs in a day and fully undergo metamorphosis in a month or two.