Cold weather means amphibians are late to the hop!

After 16 days in Ghana I thought  I would miss out on the peak frog and toad breeding season. The frogs had spawned in my garden pond around the 9-10th March judging by the size of the clumps. This is a whole month later than the mean date in area over past 10 years or so. Trevor Beebee tells me that frogs have yet to spawn in Brighton, so this is indeed a very late year.  In my corner of NE Hampshire it is intriguing how the earliest frog spawn I see is laid in springfed chalk-streams in quite shaded sites which dont see much sun until well into April. Ashford Chace outlet stream often has spawn in late january/early Feb. Presumably the water temp is constant and not affected by air temperature like pondwater.   Trevor Beebee showed a strong correlation between first returning dates for GCN, Smooth, Palmate (plus introduced Alpine) newts and rising spring temperatures over the period from the 1980s to early 21st C. He noted the trend in Common Frogs was not quite as consistent, because Frogs need a few days in spring to mature their sperm and eggs, which are already developed prior to hibernation in the other amphibians. The last three winters have certainly made things complicated again, with the once very rare sight of frogs and toads spawning at the same time becoming commonplace, with mixed pairings with male frogs amplexing with toads.


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