Species of the Month - March 2017

Each month we feature a picture of a species to be found on The Commons. Wherever possible, all species featured have been photographed here. This month, we are featuring the common frog (Rana temporaria).

It is only at spawning time that frogs (and their close relatives, toads) reveal just how many of them there are. They spend much of their time alone, secreted away near ponds, marshes or long grass, and can turn up in almost any suitably damp spot. During the coldest months, they hibernate in running waters, muddy burrows, or in layers of decaying leaves and mud at the bottom of ponds. Adults emerge in the early spring and migrate to ponds for their famous mass-spawning orgies, before returning to safer obscurity for the summer, leaving the pond to a diminishing mass of wriggling tadpoles.

The lives of frogs and their tadpoles are full of risks. Ponds can dry up or freeze over after spawning, and the list of predatory birds and mammals is a long one, not to mention snakes, and maybe even French chefs after their legs! It is as well they spawn so prolifically.

A good place to witness their spawning is Scouts’ Pond on the Jubilee Boardwalk. They are quite nervous, so approach quietly and stay still and you will be rewarded by an interesting spectacle, accompanied by a wonderful noise.

More pictures and information can be found on the Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK website.

Click here to see other Species of the Month, or here for last year's Plants of the Month.