Friday, April 19, 2013

Frog Eggs

frogspawn frogs egg eggs Maine
Round about this time of year T.S. Eliot's phrase, "April is the cruelest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land" gets bandied about a lot, although on Mount Desert Island we don't see lilac blossoms until late May. For us, April breeds Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders. I haven't seen a salamander in years, but I'm pretty sure these are their eggs:

 and here is a Wood Frog with masses of frog eggs:
frogspawn frogs egg eggs Maine Rana sylvatica
I don't know how old the eggs are, but the embyos are just starting to elongate into vaguely tadpole-like shapes.
The photo at the top of this post shows the eggs against a white background so you can see the babies more clearly. We scooped an egg mass into a glass baking dish full of pond water and held it over white fabric. (These were eggs that the neighborhood kids had brought home in a bucket - I believe it is best not to detach frog eggs from any grass or twigs supporting them.) I'll try to get another shot in a few days when the tadpoles have started to develop.


  1. Beautiful Hill Country in Texas is warming up and our "croakers" are already singing around the pond. It gets really loud at night. Last year, we noticed suddenly that it was getting more and more quiet...eastern hog nose snakes were snacking away the frogs. Non venoumous but they have a nasty attitude. They will flatten their necks and hiss enough to get your attention. Somehow, the froggies always come back. Have some water and there will ALWAYS be wildlife! Thanks for sharing your stories from your neighborhood! Laura

    1. I looked up the hog nose snake on Wikipedia and one of the sample photos shows it eating a frog! I'm glad your frogs are breeding faster than they get eaten. The snakes look beautiful, too.