Spring Peeper

May 01, 2005

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Provided and copyright by: Diane Ryckebusch
Summary authors & editors: Diane Ryckebusch; Jim Foster

The "big night" is a crucial time in the lives of New England amphibians. The first night in early spring when temperatures are above freezing and a hard rain falls marks the start of this novel amphibian migration. As if on cue, multitudes of salamanders and frogs, like the Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)tree frog shown above, leave their mysterious winter homes and move toward fish-free vernal pools. These ephemeral wetlands provide a unique breeding ground before drying up in the late summer and fall. Habitat destruction and fragmentation are major causes of amphibian decline, but in addition, our roads and highways (often adjacent to vernal pools) create a hazardous migration barrier as millions of frogs and salamanders attempt to cross these roads on the way to their favorite water hole. At least on their "big night," keep your eyes peeled for these little guys when driving down roads in wetland areas.

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