Early frogspawn in Cornwall already


This video from England is called Common Frogs in the Garden.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Frogs breeding in November due to mild weather

Frogspawn spotted in Cornwall, months before the usual spring spawning time, is earliest sighting in almost a decade

Mild autumn weather has led to frogs breeding five months early, with frogspawn sighted in Cornwall this week. It is the earliest frogspawn recorded in nearly a decade.

The Woodland Trust was alerted to the frogspawn by a National Trust ranger, who had spotted the common frog’s spawn at the North Predannack Downs nature reserve on the Lizard Peninsula.

“This year I first saw frog spawn on 21 November, which is early, but not unheard of in a Cornish context,” said Rachel Holder, the ranger who first spotted the frogspawn. “The gamble of getting ahead in the breeding game must be worth taking, and the risk of a severe cold snap which could freeze the spawn is worth braving,” she said.

Frogspawn [is] usually seen in March across the UK, with the earliest occurrence in recent history being on 26 October, in 2005.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite, project manager for Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar , said: “Although spring is generally arriving earlier, to receive a frogspawn sighting before winter has properly begun is highly unusual.

“Given the reasonably mild weather we have been enjoying recently, it is possible for frogs to be fooled into spawning early, but sadly it is unlikely the spawn will now survive the frosts we are experiencing,” she said.

November has been mild and very wet so far, according to the Met Office, with average temperatures nearly 2C above the long-term average, and 93.1mm of rainfall.

Frogspawn, which has the appearance of a thick translucent jelly with dark specks, often contains 5,000 eggs and is laid at one time. Tadpoles begin to emerge after a month, although early spawn is vulnerable to freezing during the winter months while it floats on the top of the pond. As frogs mate once per season, their breeding effort for the year may be wasted if spawn is laid when the conditions are not right.

Chris Hickman, from the Woodland Trust, told the Guardian that the early UK sightings of frogspawn, “highlights the wider issue that frogs are looking at spawning early, or having to adapt, because climate change is changing the natural environment in England.”

He added, “it’s not something that we’ve had for a long time and we have to establish whether this will be a one off, or maybe there are other frogspawn sightings out there that perhaps people haven’t yet reported.”

Matthew Oates, a naturalist at the National Trust, said he had noticed how climatic changes have affected the seasonal behaviour of species, such as the purple emperor caterpillar not hibernating, and this autumn he has heard the evening chorus of song-thrush and robins singing. The naturalist said that he expects hazel catkins, which traditionally appear mid-January, to bloom before Christmas.

There have been early first sightings of other species in recent years. According to the Woodland Trust, snowdrops which are traditionally out in spring have been sighted early in November and December since 2001. Ladybirds, which historically hibernate during the winter months, were spotted in December every year between 2002 and 2008 and also in 2011.

New Brazilian frog named after Ozzy Osbourne


This video is called Wild Amazon Part 1.

From National Geographic:

New “Bat Frog” Found in Amazon, Named for Ozzy Osbourne

Dendropsophus ozzyi males make high-pitched, batlike calls

Carrie Arnold

November 8, 2014

Holy Batfrog! Scientists have discovered a new tree frog species with a shrill, batlike call in the Brazilian Amazon.

“As soon as I heard its call, I knew it was a new species. I had never heard anything like it,” said Pedro Peloso, one of the frog’s discoverers and a postdoctoral fellow at Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Brazil.

Peloso and colleagues found the 0.75-inch (19.4-millimeter) amphibian in 2009 as part of a biodiversity survey of Floresta Nacional de Pau-Rosa, a protected area in the state of Amazonas (map).

During the month-long expedition, the team found 21 specimens of the brown-and-orange creature, which has mysteriously long, delicate fingers and toes. (Read about tree frogs in National Geographic magazine.)

The male frogs also have an unusually large vocal sac, a nearly transparent piece of skin that inflates to produce its unique high-pitched chirping sound. Male tree frogs in general make loud calls to communicate with females in distant treetops, but the new species is the first known to sound like a bat.

Once the team had brought their treasure back to the lab, “we kept talking about the ‘bat frog,’ which led to us talking about being fans of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath,” Peloso said.

At a concert in 1981, Osbourne bit the head off a bat that a fan threw on the stage, although Osbourne later said he believed it was rubber. Peloso named his bat frog Dendropsophus ozzyi, and it’s described November 6 in the journal Zootaxa.

New frog species discovery in New York City


This video from the USA says about itself:

30 October 2014

Male Rana Kauffeldi Emits Its Primary Call In New York City

A male Rana kauffeldi emits its primary call in the foreground with several other competing males calling in background.

New species of frog discovered in New York’s urban jungle after scientists notice ‘very odd’ chorus call

A new species of Frog has been discovered thriving in New York – after scientists were drawn to the creatures’ ‘very odd’ chorus call.

The Atlantic Coast leopard frog as it has been named was first noticed hopping around wetlands in the shadow of the Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

Jeremy Feinberg, a scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, was intrigued by the animals’ unusual chorus call.

The frog looks identical to other leopard frogs but Mr Feinberg felt certain it’s distinctive ‘chuck’ call was like nothing he had heard before.

So he teamed up with genetics experts and tests proved him right – the frog was indeed an entirely new species.

The new frog has been given the Latin name Rana kauffeldi in honour of New York wildlife expert Carl Kauffeld who first suggested there may be an unidentified species of frog in the area in 1937.

Sadly Mr Kauffeld, who died in 1974 aged 63, had never been able to prove his theory as genetic testing technology was not available at the time.

Mr Feinberg told BBC News: ‘Frogs have very stereotyped calls within a species, so I knew this was different.

‘But it took me two years to find someone to partner with me on the genetics side.

‘This is only the third new species of frog to be discovered north of Mexico since 1986.

“What also makes this crazy is that it’s in a urban area – [that’s] what makes it a double whammy.

“You wouldn’t find it hopping around Times Square”.

‘[These frogs] probably require wetland areas of something on the average minimum of 10 acres or more.

The frog has since been found to inhabit a coastal strech from Connecticut in the north to Virginia and North Carolina in the south.

A large colony was discovered thriving on Staten Island.

From Wildlife Extra:

New frog species found in the urban jungle of New York City

When thinking about where a new frog species might be discovered, the dense rainforests of Papua New Guinea, the humid jungles of Central Africa or other equally remote and tropical destinations instantly come to mind. But surprisingly, the latest new frog species to have been discovered has been found in the urban jungle of New York City and surrounding coastal areas.

The new species of leopard frog, Rana kauffeldi, was first identified in the New York City metropolitan area, but its range extends to the north and south, following a narrow and predominantly coastal lowland area from central Connecticut to northeast North Carolina.

Jeremy Feinburg and colleagues from Rutgers University undertook the research to identify the amphibian, analysing acoustic and genetic data. “The discovery of a new frog species from the urban Northeast is truly remarkable and completes a journey that began six years ago with a simple frog call in the wilds of New York City,” says Feinburg. “This story underscores the synergy that traditional field methods and modern molecular and bioacoustic techniques can have when used together; one is really lost without the other, but together are very powerful tools.”

You can read the full paper here.

Read about other new species discoveries here.

New frog species discovery in Panama


The hololotype specimen, which scientists used as the basis to describe a new species of poison dart frog: Andinobates geminisae. Credit: Cesar Jaramillo, STRI

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Scientists find tiny, poisonous new mystery frog

Mysterious new species of poison dart frog can fit on a fingernail and could be under threat

Andrew Griffin

Sunday 28 September 2014

Scientists have discovered a new species of poison dart frog, small enough to fit on a fingernail but still bearing the toxic poison that gives the frogs their name.

Poison dart frogs — many of which are threatened species — live in Central and South America and secrete poisons that are used by hunters to make blowdarts. They are often brightly coloured, with varied colour patterns that scare off predators.

The new animal, found in Panama, is only 12.7 millimetres long. The frog’s smooth skin and its unique call mark it out as different from any of the other frogs in the region, and researchers are unsure how it came to look like it did.

Other frog’s poisons have been harnessed by hunters for weapons, but it is unlikely that the new discovery’s poison has ever been used in that way, Andrew Crawford, one of the authors of the study, told National Geographic. The new frog’s poison has yet to be analysed.

It has been called Andinobates geminisae, and a specimen was first collected in 2011. Scientists have been working since then to understand whether the animal was a new species, and to sequence its DNA.

Though researchers have seen the frog before, it was unclear whether it was just another variety of a similar species. Little is known about the species, but it appears to care for its young.

Because the animal can only be found in such a small area and so its existence could easily be threatened, scientists have laid out plans for how to protect the frog. That will involve including the frog in a captive breeding programme that helps protect amphibians from diseases and habitat loss.

The scientific description of the new species is here.

See also here.

Amphibians of Meijendel nature reserve


Young tree frog, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

This is a photo of a young tree frog on the shoe of a natural history enthusiast in Meijendel nature reserve, north of The Hague in the Netherlands, on 6 September 2014. If you read on, then you will find out how that frog landed there.

That day, we went to a part of Meijendel, usually not open to the public. It is known as Kikkervalleien, frogs’ valleys, because of many amphibians living there.

In the Kikkervalleien, original wet sand dune valley situations have been restored. This means many small lakes with shallow water. Good conditions for amphibians, as there are often no predatory fish in the lakelets.

Traditionally, there used to be six amphibian species in nature reserve Meijendel.

Four of those are toads and frogs:edible frog, common frog, Eurasian toad, and natterjack toad.

Also two newt species, the common newt and the great crested newt, are traditional Meijendel denizens.

About 2007, two other species joined them.

They are the common Eurasian spadefoot toad; and the common tree frog.

The species which we saw most on 6 September were natterjack toads.

All still very small; most smaller than half a centimeter.

Natterjack toad, 6 September 2014

No matter how young natterjack toads are, they already have the characteristic stripe down their backs.

Common frog, 6 September 2014

The second most numerous species on 6 September were common frogs. Also mostly still young, but a bit bigger than the natterjack toads: over 1 centimeter. We also saw an adult.

Young tree frog on shoe, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

Then, the young common tree frog. It jumped around on the sand, till it jumped on the shoe. Then, it jumped higher, to a fold in trousers. Finally, it jumped off, to continue its journey in the dunes.

Young tree frog still on shoe, Meijendel, 6 September 2014

At the lakelet near the exit of the Kikkervalleien area, where the natterjack toad photo is from, there were also young common frogs. And small Eurasian toads.

And a young common newt.

Stay tuned, as there will be more posts on this blog about non-amphibian life forms of Meijendel, like birds, fungi and plants!

Edible frogs feeding on moths, video


This video is about edible frogs in the Netherlands, feeding on moths attracted by lamp light.

Jos van Zijl made the video.

New Brazilian frog discovery, name honours escaped slaves


This video is the film Quilombo, on the history of slavery in Brazil, and slaves’ resistance to it.

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of frog named after slaves

A tiny new species of narrow-mouthed frog from the Microhylidae family has been discovered in the Atlantic Forest of the Espírito Santo State, southeastern Brazil.

Measuring just 14mm, the new species has been name[d] Chiasmocleis quilombola after the quilombos communities typical of the Espírito Santo State in Brazil, where the frogs were collected.

Quilombola communities are descended from slaves who dared to escape during colonial Portuguese rule in Brazil between 1530 and 1815 and find a refuge in the depths of the Atlantic Forest.

Even today in the north of Espírito Santo State quilombola communities still remain and maintain alive their traditions, such as quilombola food and craftwork.

Chiasmocleis quilombola occupy coastal areas north of Espírito Santo State, a region that is under strong human pressure, therefore the species may face imminent threat of habitat loss.

The discovery was made by scientists from two US universities, the University of Richmond in Virginia and The George Washington University in Washington DC.

See also here.

The scientific description of the new species is here.