Frog Eggs: Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

20220629 Eggs of Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis) apparently lays larger clutches than I have seen in the past.

Previously, all the clutches I observed were smaller and broken up into different clumps separated by floating vegetation.

I speculated that was because the mating parents were avoiding the larger Green Frogs.

I’m not sure why the eggs in tank #4 are so numerous and all clumped in one area the same way the clutches of Green Frog eggs have been.

I certainly hope this isn’t because this is the first clutch laid where the parents weren’t pursued.

20220629 Eggs of Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis) v2
20220629 Eggs of Cope’s Gray Tree Frog (Hyla chrysoscelis) v2

Note that these eggs were laid within the past 12 hours and the yolk is still spherical. Within 24 hours it will be a flattened embryo.

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Videos of Tadpoles Swimming in Experiment Tank #6

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At the bottom of this post are two videos of tadpoles of the Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) swimming in experiment tank #6. One video is from June 27, 2022, and the second is from June 30.

Juvenile Green Frogs have laid several clutches of eggs in all eight experiment tanks. Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) have also laid several clutches of eggs in every tank as far as I can tell.

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Digging the Second Pond

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In 2020, I dealt with the stress of running my business during the pandemic by digging a second tadpole pond.

Why a Second Pond?

For the first ten years I owned the property, my back yard was an ordinary lawn of St. Augustine with fairly low ecological value.

The first pond was small, but it turned its corner of the back yard into a Grand Central Station of biodiversity in its first year of existence.

By the end of the summer, there were hummingbirds and blue dragonflies chasing each other overhead and everything from owls to possums coming for a drink.

20190515-frog-eggs-4
20190515-frog-eggs-4. Eggs of Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans). A population of clamitans was established in the First Pond by the end of the first summer and has increased each year.

So far, the pond has remained healthy year after year, with clear water and populations of freshwater shrimp, clams, mosquitofish, water weeds, and multiple species of tadpoles.

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Tadpoles Swimming 2018

tadpole-video-photo May 2018

Here is a video of tadpoles swimming in the first pond in its third month of existence.

I incorrectly identified these as tree frog tadpoles, which I now know to be smaller.

Based on countless observations over the past four years, I am fairly certain that the tadpoles in this video are those of the common Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans), the dominate amphibian species of most freshwater biomes in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Mosquitofish Ponds

mosquitofish-gambusia-affinis copy

The ponds at Yalobusha farms produce many tadpoles, especially Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans) and Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) and the Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis).

The ponds are also host to many larvae of the blue dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis), which swarm over the katniss and chase each other around the ponds.

BUT, the creature in the ponds that seem to have the most intense ecological impact are the Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), which are voracious eaters of mosquito larvae.

In fact, there aren’t any mosquito larvae found in the ponds because Mosquitofish reproduce to fill all available space and consume the floating egg cases as soon as they are laid, often while they are being laid, along with the female mosquito.

For ten years before the ponds were dug, the back yard was plain St. Augustine grass and swarmed with Asian tiger mosquitoes no matter how dry or how rainy the year had been.

Now that the ponds are there, mosquitos are sparse.

Here is a video of fish swimming in the first pond:

The Pond in High Summer

The pond in high summer-20180807_195824

The pond’s first summer was 2018, just a few months after it was dug, but the sprigs of plants we put in it grew explosively, and the frogs and insects colonized it immediately.

It was surreal how quickly the pond established itself because I didn’t use fertilizers or tend the plants or do anything that might put appearance or speed ahead of letting it happen on its own with minimal input.

But, by the time August rolled around, the pond looked and functioned like it had been in place for years. Hummingbirds and dragonflies and bees flew in and out constantly.

The pond in high summer was filled with in aquatic plants and surrounded by flowers for pollinator insects.
The photo above is from late June, and the vegetation is already thick, but not as thick at it would get by August. Less than three months before, this was a hole being dug in the ground in a small patch of lawn beneath a retaining wall.

Bird Watching Blind

My bathroom window is now the best bird-watching blind for hummingbirds.
My bathroom window is now the best bird-watching blind for hummingbirds. The summer before it was just a patch of St. Augustine grass, and insects were fairly minimal, mainly wasps.

My bathroom window is now a great bird-watching blind, especially for hummingbirds and dragonflies and bees of many types. There are lots of songbirds and butterflies and the rabbits that eat the sweet potatoes I have growing around the pond mixed in with the milkweed.

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Digging the Tadpole Pond

digging tadpole pond. March 19th day 9

  • March 11th day 1

The Yalobusha

In the backyard, we dug a Yalobusha, a tadpole place. We dug it after school together between dirt-clod throwing contests. Continue reading “Digging the Tadpole Pond”