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2017... and so it begins

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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 3:46pm
Hi Gemma - I am convinced that unpaired males can fertilize at least a proportion of the fresh laid spawn.  Saw this especially when my pond was a couple of years ago and we had 100 plus males and a handful of females - the males would all climb on top of the egg mass and it was obvious they were ejaculating on the spawn (so at least they thought they were passing on their genes...)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 3:49pm
...and I forgot to add that I'm sure I read somewhere that DNA analysis indicated multiple paternity in at least some clumps, which would be the logical result of all these nefarious fertilization attempts.  It would be fascinating to know how often this happens and what proportion of the eggs are fertilized by the 'sneaky' males.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 6:03pm
Sounds logical Will. These sort of behaviours are likely to have at least some success one would guess for it to continue in a species. I guess also one can assume with the haphazard method of external fertilization at least some of the eggs in a given clump get missed and remain unfertilized until a 'sneaky' male happens along.  One could even imagine occasionally a entire clump being laid and not fertilized until such an event.

Certainly fascinating to watch. Seems the life of an unpaired male frog in the breeding season is to call for mates all night and then by day go and ejaculate all over someone else's spawn clump. One could not make this stuff up and many unpaired males were at it again all day today. LOL

Once again our native herpetofauna keeps me fascinated and asking questions. Smile

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 6:07pm
Chris, we are still waiting for the first lizard sighting this year. Should be soon but it does seem it takes a time for the logs in the garden to warm up in the spring. I'm entirely convinced the lizards hibernate in these and could be quite deep in the log cores. The usual first sign is ladybirds emerging from the logs, then a few days later we see the first lizards poking their heads out of the cracks, followed by the start of open basking on the warmer days.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 6:41pm
Lots of frogs in the pond, all trying desperately to lay eggs on the small amount of weed in there, what eggs there are seem to get knocked off the next night into the depths of the pond - will it survive in a shallow bucket?

Anyone else seen any hedgehogs yet?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 6:55pm
Hi Chubsta, spawn will survive in a bucket OK, just get it indoors if there is a frost forecast and do not leave it in the full sun either.

I've intervened many times with spawn when it was necessary, all with good results. The entire population we have now lived in buckets, then trays at one time in their life Smile

As I understand it your pond does not have enough weed to support the spawn on the surface? It is meant to swell and float but if it is going to the depths it may not get enough oxygen. Putting at least some in a bucket sounds like a good insurance policy.

Not seen any hogs yet here in Essex. 


Edited by GemmaJF - 05 Mar 2017 at 6:56pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 8:09pm
Thanks - Ive got some pretty big shallow trays i can use, will get the spawn out each day and see how i get on. Its unfortunate but i really had no choice but to drain the pond as the duckweed had killed all the 'normal' weed off, i have a couple of small clumps and some marginals but its certainly not enough. last year was the best year ever for froglets, the garden was teeming with them so hopefully the blip this year wont have too much of an effect on their numbers, unless the hogs have been feasting on them of course!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 8:59pm
Shallow trays are much better than buckets, greater surface area for oxygen exchange.

Ponds are always trying to do things like that. 

All we can do is try to keep them in an ideal state, but nature likes to do the 'succession' thing and mess them up. I good clear-out may also reduce invertebrate predators, so a win-win situation for the frogs in the end.

We live in area that was long ago marsh land. I do not know the species but we have a marsh grass locally that is as happy in water as it is out. It was an area of this that grew naturally in our pond the frogs chose.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 9:26pm
i think one of the most positive things that has happened is that there are now no fish in the pond - apart from the fact they would prey on the invertebrates they were responsible for much of the nutrients in the water which allowed the duckweed to take over so quickly.

The pond is now very clear, still some duckweed on the surface but art is manageable and i am taking it out with a scoop as i go along, the plan is for quite a few marginal plants, a couple of lilies and canadian pondweed etc. The pond usually has a big population of dragonfly and damselfly larvae, as well as shrimps, leeches and snails, so once it gets up and running again i expect all to come back. Last year, for the first time in probably 20 years, i also had a couple of newts so hopefully they will return.

I am also installing a couple of small solar-powered fountains to help aerate the water.

Basically it is year-0, and i think it will end up much better for the wildlife than it has been the last couple of years, and shouldn't need de-silting for at least 15-20 years again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Mar 2017 at 9:32pm
Our pond is only two years old. So the same still getting there. If it had not been for that patch of grass growing into the water, we would have had the same problem, nothing to support the spawn. 

I usually avoid canadian pond weed. I know it is a good oxygenator, but it can really take over a pond at  times. Then again I was advised not plant flag iris and the large native pond lilies. I did because I like them and as they are in planters they have been no problem and are both beautiful when in flower. Smile
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