Monday, 10 February 2014

Frog Spawn Season; what should you do?

The onset of the warmer weather in February brings the start of the amphibian breeding season and the welcome appearance of frog and toad spawn in Britain’s ponds. We spotted the first frog spawn in our ponds at Parc Slip this year on the 4th February.

The Parc Slip Frogspawn!

If you are lucky enough to have spawn in your pond, we have a number of pointers for you to help you look after your amphibians.

Firstly, you can work out what species you have; frog spawn is laid in obvious jelly-like clumps, like in the photo above, whereas toad spawn is laid in long chains which are often more difficult to see. Report your sightings to your local records centre- knowing where the animals are can help with their conservation. The local records centre in the South Wales area is SEWBReC.

If your pond looks like it’s over flowing with spawn, do not worry, there’s no such thing as too much frog spawn! It’s a harsh world out there; it’s thought that only one in 50 eggs laid will survive to adulthood, so you won’t ever be over run with frogs!

Frog with spawn in our Conservation Managers garden last year

The crucial thing to note is that it is very important that you do not move spawn between ponds. Unfortunately, there are a number of amphibian diseases in the UK, such as Ranavirus and Chytrid fungus that can decimate amphibian populations and lead to local population declines.

Another issue is invasive non-native pond plants, including Crassula helmsii (Australian Swamp-Stonecrop), which are extremely damaging to biodiversity and can result in the pond being filled in.

Movement of frogspawn from pond to pond can spread these diseases and invasive plants to new areas. Unfortunately, this has been the case at Parc Slip, with a pond being completely over run with Crassula. This is probably as a result of movement of materials into the pond from another infected pond. Please help us to prevent further invasions and do not transfer materials into the ponds. And start spreading the word to stop the swap of spawn! 

Crassula helmsii in our infected pond

Have you seen any frogspawn yet?

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