Posts Tagged ‘Anaxyrus americanus’

Amplexus gone wild!

March 24, 2016

A mass of mating Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. It's difficult to tell whether there are pairs of males and females in amplexus within the group of toads.

A mass of mating Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) was spotted in a vernal pool during a photowalk along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park on 11 March 2016. It’s difficult to tell whether there are pairs of males and females in amplexus within the group of toads.

A mass of mating Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. It's difficult to tell whether there are pairs of males and females in amplexus within the group of toads.

It’s like the toads were playing either rugby (the pile of toads reminds me of a scrum) or “Twister.”

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Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Amplexus

March 22, 2016

Amplexus is the nexus between male and female frogs and toads that results in fertilization of eggs. Many mating pairs of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) were observed in amplexus in a vernal pool located along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park on 11 March 2016.

The first photo shows a mating pair in amplexus plus another male interloper.

A mating pair of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) plus another male interloper spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The mating pair is in amplexus.

And action! The following photo — my favorite in the set — shows another mating pair in amplexus plus an aggressive male interloper. Notice the strings of toad eggs in the water.

A mating pair of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) plus another male interloper spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. The mating pair is in amplexus. Notice the long strings of toad eggs in the water.

Look closely at the full-size version of the preceding photo. Notice the nictitating membrane covering the eyes of all three toads — a translucent third eyelid that protects the eyes of toads when they are underwater. Looking at the other three photos, can you tell which toads’ eyes are (or were) below water?

The next photo shows a mating pair in amplexus. Notice the long strings of toad eggs in the water.

A mating pair of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in amplexus. Notice the long strings of toad eggs in the water.

The last photo shows another mating pair in amplexus.

A mating pair of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in amplexus.

Answer Key: Photo 1) The male interloper is under water. Photo 2) All three toads are under water. Photo 3) Both toads are under water. Photo 4) Both toads are above water.

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Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Eastern American Toads (mating pair)

March 20, 2016

A mating pair of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This pair is in amplexus. Notice the long strings of toad eggs in the water.

Many mating pairs of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) were spotted in a vernal pool during a photowalk along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park on 11 March 2016. This pair is shown in amplexus, in which the male (top) holds onto the female (bottom): the female lays eggs in the water; the male fertilizes the eggs, externally from the female.

Notice the black-and-white strings of toad eggs in the water.

The eggs are laid in long spiral gelatinous strings and each egg is 1/25 to 1/16 inch in diameter. The eggs, 4000 to 8000 in number, are laid in two strings, and hatch in 3 to 12 days. Source Credit: eastern American toad (Anaxyrus americanus americanus), Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

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Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

“Air bag” deployed

March 18, 2016

An Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is a male, calling (trilling) for females.

Many Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) were spotted in a vernal pool during a photowalk along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park on 11 March 2016.

It’s mating season for toads in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America. The mating process begins when male toads, such as the one shown above, go to a body of water and begin calling females.

Look closely at the full-size version of the photo. Notice the waves radiating outward from the toad’s air bag, technically called a “dewlap.” Sound is a wave phenomenon caused by vibrations in a medium such as air and water. Light is a wave phenomenon too (as well as a particle phenomenon). Who knew still photos could capture both light and sound waves?

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Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Full circle

March 10, 2015

“When I grow up I want to be like the big toads in my neighborhood!”

Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

1. Eastern American Toad (“toadlet”)

Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

2. Eastern American Toad (adult)

Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

3. Eastern American Toad (adult)

Last spring, mating Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) were photographed on 12- and 18 April 2014 at two vernal pools near the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park. [See Toad-ally in Love! (Part 1-5).”Part 5 shows thousands of “toadpoles” swimming in the larger pool.

On 25 May 2014 (a little over a month later), I shot more photos of the same species of toad near another vernal pool located in a remote location in the forest at the park. Photo 1 shows what I refer as a “toadlet,” that is, a small, young toad. The toadlet is tiny — only a few times wider than a blade of grass! Contrast the size of the toadlet with the adult shown in Photo 2-3.

About a month from now, the wheel in the sky will have come full-circle. Is it spring yet? I can’t wait!

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toad-ally in love! (Part 5)

April 28, 2014

American Toad (tadpoles)

On 18 April 2014, six days after I observed Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) mating in a couple of vernal pools located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park, I spotted thousands of tadpoles swimming in the larger pool.

Why do toads lay thousands of eggs? The answer is, in a word, survival. According to Kevin Munroe, former Park Manager at HMP, tadpoles have a 1-in-10 chance of surviving to become adult toads, although their chances of survival may be greater in fish-less water bodies such as vernal pools.

The preceding still “photoad” is an outtake from one of eight video clips featured in the movie “toadpoles,” shown below.

Editor’s Note: This is Part 5 in a five-part series of posts featuring two types of toads commonly seen at Huntley Meadows Park: Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus); and Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri).

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Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toad-ally in love! (Part 4)

April 26, 2014

The following pair of mating Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) was spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park on 12 April 2014.

American Toads (mating pair)

Eastern American- and Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri) are similar in appearance and often coexist in the same habitat. Fowler’s Toads are known to hybridize with other species of toads; this may be a pair of hybrid toads.

American Toads (mating pair)

The toads were mating in a small vernal pool located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail.

American Toads (mating pair)

Notice the black-and-white strings of toad eggs faintly visible in all of the photos.

American Toads (mating pair)

Editor’s Note: This is Part 4 in a five-part series of posts featuring two types of toads commonly seen at Huntley Meadows Park: Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus); and Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri).

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toad-ally in love! (Part 3)

April 24, 2014

The following photos show another pair of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) spotted during a photowalk through Huntley Meadows Park on 12 April 2014. The toads were mating in a large vernal pool located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail.

American Toads (mating pair)

The pair of toads featured in this post and in Part 2 are quite different in coloration.

The color is highly variable, from brick-red through browns and olive grays to light gray. Source Credit: eastern American toad (Anaxyrus americanus americanus), Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The reddish-orange color of the female toad is beautiful. (I thought I’d never use the words “toad” and “beautiful” in the same sentence!)

American Toads (mating pair)

Notice the black-and-white strings of toad eggs visible in all three photos.

American Toads (mating pair)

Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 in a five-part series of posts featuring two types of toads commonly seen at Huntley Meadows Park: Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus); and Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri).

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toad-ally in love! (Part 2)

April 22, 2014

The following pair of Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) is shown in amplexus, in which the male (top) holds onto the female (bottom): the female lays eggs in the water; the male fertilizes the eggs, externally from the female.

Notice the black-and-white strings of toad eggs in the water.

The eggs are laid in long spiral gelatinous strings and each egg is 1/25 to 1/16 inch in diameter. The eggs, 4000 to 8000 in number, are laid in two strings, and hatch in 3 to 12 days. Source Credit: eastern American toad (Anaxyrus americanus americanus), Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

American Toads (mating pair)

This pair of mating toads was spotted in a large vernal pool during a photowalk along the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park on 12 April 2014.

American Toads (mating pair)

Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 in a five-part series of posts featuring two types of toads commonly seen at Huntley Meadows Park: Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus); and Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri).

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Toad-ally in love! (Part 1)

April 20, 2014

The wetlands are alive, with the sound of trilling! Yep, either I’m channeling Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music or it’s mating season for toads in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America.

The mating process begins when male toads, such as the following Eastern American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus), go to a body of water and begin calling females. This individual was spotted on 12 April 2014 in a large vernal pool located near the terminus of the Hike-Bike Trail at Huntley Meadows Park.

American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

The following movie shows a male toad calling several times. The mating calls of other male toads can be heard in the background, as well as wind noise (the video clip was recorded on a windy day).

Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 in a five-part series of posts featuring two types of toads commonly seen at Huntley Meadows Park: Eastern American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus); and Fowler’s Toads (Anaxyrus fowleri).

Related Resources:

Copyright © 2014 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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