The fresh blanket of snow across the Western New York landscape is a good reminder that winter isn’t over just yet. However, some of our resident amphibians have been receiving crossed signals due to recent increases in daylight hours and above average temperatures; we have actually gotten reports of salamanders and frogs moving to nearby ponds and vernal pools to lay their eggs.
With this weekend’s dropping temperatures, local pools have started to ice over indicating freezing temperatures near the surface. The eggs of some amphibian species are able to cope with fluctuating spring temperatures fairly well. For example, as wood frog eggs begin to freeze, water is drawn out of the embryos and into the gelatinous mass that surrounds them thus increasing their freeze tolerance and survivability. Spotted salamander eggs, however, are rather sensitive to these temperature fluxes and may not survive if freezing occurs. Hopefully any eggs in these pools will endure the weekend cold snap; warmer weather should soon arrive!