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 adults. 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: email@example.com 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 Backswimmer—www.vernalpool.org Fingernail Clams & Flat Snail Pickerel Frog—www.vernalpool.org Spotted Turtle—www.vernalpool.org www.vernalpool.org Reference: A Field Guide to the Animals of Vernal Pools by Leo P. Kenney and Matthew R. Burne. http://www.vernalpool.org.