Spring 2000 wood frog and spotted salamander study on the Sharpe farm, Hopkinton, NH

Colby, Maria
Jon Atwood, PhD
Department of Environmental Studies
During Spring 2000, interspecific communal nesting among the wood frog (Rana sylvatica), the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculata) and the Jefferson/blue-spotted salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum / Ambystoma lateral) was investigated in vernal pools on the Army Corps of Engineers property The Sharpe Farm in Hopkinton, NH. These amphibians nest in vernal pools. Although intracommunal nesting (females of the same species laying their eggs next to or near each other ) is well-documented, reports of interspecific communal nesting (females of different species laying their eggs next to or near eggs of another species) is not well-documented. I collected data that included the number of egg masses of each species, the location of the egg masses, the depth of the egg masses, the size of the twig at egg attachment site and abiotic data about each vernal pool. Infrequent interspecifc communal nesting did occur between these species. The locations of the deposited egg masses between the species were positively correlated for depths of egg masses and for twig diameter at attachment of egg sites. These results may provide guidelines for a more productive replacement of vernal pools for the enhancement of existing vernal pools to improve opportunities for vernal pool obligate breeding amphibians.

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