Relative warm rainy nights bring one of the most awe-inspiring events in the forests of Cleveland Metroparks. Countless wood frogs, spotted and Jefferson salamanders and spring peepers are on the move migrating to vernal pools. Males are first to arrive staking territories and advertising for the soon arriving females. The chorus peaks with thousands of males singing as competition is fierce for the opportunity to breed. Within a few short days this annual event is over and the adults migrate back to the forest leaving their eggs to develop into another generation of amphibians all before the heart of summer will dry out these temporary pools.
The early rush to vernal pools is now replaced with the slower and more prolonged breeding season of America toads, leopard and pickerel frogs. America toads are extreme egg layers where one female can lay up to 15,000 eggs in a long coiled string often extending over 10 meters in length. The snoring sounds of leopard and pickerel frogs can be difficult for some to distinguish but typically can be geographically separated with leopard frogs in the west and pickerel frogs in the east. Their tadpoles will develop quickly to emerge as froglets before the end of summer.
The banjo like “twang” of green frogs can now be heard in evenings near practically and permanent body of water throughout Cleveland Metroparks. Gray tree frogs call loudly from secluded locations in the lofty treetops or wetland edges. The first tiny toadlets and froglets begin their transformation for aquatic t to terrestrial life.
Salamander larvae found in rapidly drying vernal pools begin their transition from life in the water to life on land. They leave the pools to forage in the forest leaf litter and soil; one day to return to this same pool to mate and provided life to another generation of salamanders.