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Old 6th April 2008   #1
Otterwoman
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Default Vernal Pool with Notos & Eggs

Today my boyfriend and I went to some vernal pools in Ulster County, NY.
We saw some redbacks under logs, and in one of the pools we saw Noto. viridescens.
We also saw eggs that we can't identify, maybe someone has a clue.
The pics:
1. P. cinereus under a log
2. The vernal pool with the Notos
3. A Noto. Many of them looked kind of reddish like this, I'm thinking they weren't very old. Maybe their first reproductive year.
4. The egg masses, viewed through the water
5. One of the egg masses close up. I had to put it on the log because my bf wouldn't hold it for me to photograph. It was rubbery and floppy.
6. A dead frog that was floating in the water, I put it on the log to photograph. There was a lot of peeping going on, not too far off from where we were.
And a year and a half ago I couldn't even touch a worm.
7. A different type of egg we saw
8. Another Noto, obviously male. This one was darker than most of them, so I thought it was a bit older.

This is my first field herping report so if I left out certain info I'll add it. It was a forested area, not far from the Hudson River, and we had to hike up a big hill (not really a mountain) to get there.

I carried all my equipment in my caudata.org bag!
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Old 6th April 2008   #2
Alex Shepack
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Chances are that the milky-white egg mass belongs to spotted salamanders, that color is typical of them. The other eggs probably belong to a wood frog based on size and number.

Alex



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Old 6th April 2008   #3
Cameron Cheri
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The shape of the milky white eggs is weird. I've never found spotted salamander egg sacs that shape before and I think it may belong to a different species of Ambystoma. The other eggs look like they are in a sac so they could be spotted salamander eggs. I've found spotteds egg sacs with as few as one to five eggs and some with as many as 250 eggs so I don't think number of eggs really matters and they look the size of what my spotted salamander eggs looked like as well.



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Old 7th April 2008   #4
Alex Shepack
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Funny you mention the shape because that fact has been troubling me as well. In that region of New York there are three species of Ambystomids; spotteds, blue-spotteds, and jeffersons. I can't really tell the egg masses apart. According to Michael Klemen's book blue-spotteds lay eggs singly or in small groups, so they are out, jeffersons lay in sausage shaped masses, but usually only with about 30 eggs in each mass, while spotteds lay in globular masses of about 100. Based on size I would still have to believe that they are spotteds, but that is only a hypothesis at best.

Alex



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Old 7th April 2008   #5
Cameron Cheri
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Eastern Tiger Salamanders live in NY too but their masses are huge blobs with usually 30 but sometimes even 100 or more eggs. I think it is a Jefferson's salamander egg sac which is the first thing that came to mind when I first saw the picture. According to Sherman Bishops book the average mass has 16 eggs but sometimes females will lay all their eggs in one mass which may contain over 200 eggs. It also says that they breed in March and early April which would be now. I'm thinking it belongs to Ambystoma jeffersonianum.



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Old 7th April 2008   #6
Peter Lembcke
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Those are spotted salamander egg masses, I've seen them of that shape and color lots of times. Like Alex said, Jeffs lay in small clumps, tigers lay in larger masses, and laterale eggs are laid singly or in small masses. I don't believe that the other species have the opaque coloration, either.

I have to disagree with Alex though and say that the second egg mass is also A. maculatum. Wood frog egg masses have more eggs and the embyroes are closer together. The masses are much more flimsy when picked up and do not hold their shape at all.

Very nice photos, Dawn, looks like you had a good time!



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Old 7th April 2008   #7
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Hey Cameron, there are no more Eastern Tigers outside of Long Island (in NY state) from what I've read.

Last year I hatched out some eggs that turned out to be A. maculatum. I really miss the pitter patter of tiny gills.
What about that frog, it is a peeper?




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Old 7th April 2008   #8
Chris Gagnon
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Both egg masses are A. maculatum



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Old 8th April 2008   #9
Cameron Cheri
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The frog looks like a young wood frog.



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Old 20th April 2008   #10
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Eggs, 12 days later
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Old 21st April 2008   #11
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Nice finds. There is nothing better then exploring a productive vernal pool. All your eggs look like Spotted Salamander eggs to me, and it is well documented in the literature that Spotted Eggs will turn milky white. Also, your dead frog is definately a Spring Peeper, you can faintly see the X on its back.

Andy



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Old 22nd April 2008   #12
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Very nice account, Dawn, thanks for sharing. I'm very pleased with the collective pool of knowledge - I'm rather clueless when it comes to identifying things like eggs in the field so it's good to know we have such knowledgeable and experienced members around.



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