Wood frog eggs. Please keep in mind that we have a permit for the study of wood frogs, and you should not handle their eggs if you come upon them—admire them, but don’t touch!
You may already know that Tremont has a community science project monitoring amphibian breeding by counting egg sacs in vernal (temporary) ponds each winter. But why are we interested in amphibian populations at all, and frogs specifically?
In addition to being an incredibly diverse and interesting group of animals in and of themselves, frogs are also an integral part of the ecosystem at every stage of their life. Frog eggs and tadpoles help feed many creatures, including dragonfly larvae, snakes, raccoons, salamanders and water beetles. Tadpoles clean water by feeding on algae and they compete for resources with mosquito larvae, reducing the number of mosquitoes that survive to adulthood. As adults, frogs eat many insects, including those which spread disease to humans.
Frogs and other amphibians face huge threats, and their populations are declining worldwide. Chemical pollution, climate change, increased predation (by domestic cats and nonnative species), disease (such as chytrid fungus and ranavirus), and habitat loss all impact our frog friends. But there are ways we can help! Make your yard a little frog friendlier by using compost instead of chemical fertilizers, eliminating the use of pesticides, and replacing some of your lawn with native plant species.
If you find a frog in your yard, share a photo or sketch with us! Or upload your sighting to iNaturalist so that researchers can track these important backyard neighbors.