What is in your vernal pool

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					 What is in your vernal pool?
                                        Vernal pools are sensitive ecosystems that are home to a number of amphibi-
  Manomet Center for Conser-            ans, reptiles, and invertebrates. Organisms that require a vernal pool to com-
  vation Sciences (Manomet)             plete their life cycle are referred to as obligate species. Obligate vernal pool
  is conducting a three-year
                                        species in Massachusetts include Wood Frog, Spadefoot Toad, four species
  study to improve the quality
  of water in vernal pools. Our
                                        of mole salamander (Yellow Spotted, Blue Spotted, Jefferson, and Marbled),
  goals are to:                         and Fairy Shrimp. Species that are associated with vernal pools but use other
                                        habitats as well are called facultative species. Please use this information
  ?Create a partnership with            sheet to learn more about the species that may depend on your vernal pool.
   land owners whose property           Have you seen any of these animals?
   contains a vernal pool,
  ?Measure the physical and             Spotted Salamander—Spotted Salamanders spend their lives within a half
   chemical properties of wa-           mile of the pool in terrestrial habitats. Adults migrate to the pool in early spring
   ter in vernal pools,                                                             and gather in large groups. Males deposit
                                                                                    spermatophores on leaves for females to
  ?Identify surrounding land                                                        obtain. Subsequently, internal fertiliza-
   uses that may influence wa-                                                      tion occurs. The eggs of the Spotted
   ter quality, and                                                                 Salamander are found in either one large
  ?Provide educational infor-                                                       or several smaller masses. Each mass,
   mation to help protect the                                                       which ranges from 30-250 eggs, is sur-
   pools, such as Best Man-                                                         rounded by a gelatinous matrix. This
   agement Practices.                                                               stiff matrix
                                             Spotted Salamander— www.vernalpool.org protects the
  M A N O M E T C E N T E R FOR                                                     embryos
 C ONSERVATION S C I E N C E S          from desiccation should water levels decrease. Lar-
                                        vae emerge approximately 6-8 weeks after egg
        81 Stage Point Road             deposition. The animals grow quickly, lose external
           PO Box 1770                  gills, and emerge from the pool as terrestrial            Egg mass—www.naturalsciences.org
        Manomet, MA 02345
        Phone: 508-224-6521             Wood Frogs—Listen for a chorus of adult Wood Frogs at your vernal pool in
          Fax: 508-224-9220             March and early April. Wood Frogs are found
        Web: www.manomet.org
                                        near water exclusively during the breeding sea-
    E-mail: vernalpool@manomet.org
                                        son and spend the rest of the year in upland
                                        areas. Egg masses, which may contain up to
                                        1,500 embryos, differ from that of salamanders
                                        in that they lack an outer matrix. Look for eggs
                                                                             in shallow water,
                                                                             as females often
                                                                                                  Wood Frogs—www.vernalpool.org
                                                                             attach eggs to
Support for this project provided by:                                        vegetation near the pool edge or at the water sur-
                                                                             face. Upon hatching, which occurs approximately
                                                                             28 days after deposition, tadpoles graze on algae
                                                                             that have colonized the egg mass. After a few days
                                                                             of grazing, tadpoles begin swimming freely about
                                        Wood Frog tadpole -www.vernalpool.org the pool. By June, tadpoles have developed legs
                                                                              and become air-breathers. Adult Wood Frogs
     The Island Foundation              have a distinct black “mask” and are a light to dark brown color.
                                                    Fairy Shrimp—Fairy Shrimp are small crustaceans found
                                                    exclusively in vernal pool habitats. These small organisms
                                                    measure approximately 0.5-1.5 inches and appear to move
                                                    through the water upside down. While Fairy Shrimp would oth-
                                                    erwise be easy prey for frog and salamander larvae, they ex-
                                                    perience rapid development during the winter and early spring,
                                                    when there are few predators present. Fairy Shrimp eggs sur-
                                                    vive in the bottom of the pool throughout the cold, dry winter.
                                                    The resilient eggs will hatch approximately 30 hours after ex-
                                                    posure to water with the first spring rain and will quickly de-
                                                    velop into mature adults that will reproduce several times.
               Fairy Shrimp—www.fws.gov

Marbled Salamander—The Marbled Salamander is a threatened species in Massachusetts. This species has a
distinct light pattern on their backs and a dark body. Marbled Salamanders are small animals that are approximately
                                      3-5 inches in length.

                                      The Marbled Salamander migrates to breeding pools in late summer. Females
                                      collect spermatophores left by males and deposit eggs in a dry area of the pool
                                      basin. The eggs become a dark color due to contact with soil and leaf particles.
                                      Females will guard their clutch of 50-200 eggs from predators until hatching
                                      occurs. The eggs of the Marbled
                                      Salamander will not hatch until the
      Marbled Salamander with clutch  pool fills, although the female will
           www.vernalpool.org        abandon her nest to hibernate if
                                     flooding does not occur before win-
ter. Because Marbled Salamander breeding behavior is not synchronous
with the spring and summer months, salamander larvae may be found
under pool ice in the winter. However, because larvae can tolerate the        Marbled Salamander larvae—Manomet, Inc.
harsh winter environment, they are nearly full grown when spring ar-
rives. As dominant predators, Marbled Salamander larvae will eat anything they can, including the larvae of other
mole salamanders.

                                     Other Species Found in Vernal Pools:

Spring Peeper—www.vernalpool.org
                                                                                          Green Frog—www.vernalpool.org

    Fingernail Clams & Flat Snail
                                            Pickerel Frog—www.vernalpool.org            Spotted Turtle—www.vernalpool.org

Reference: A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools by Leo P. Kenney and Matthew R. Burne.