Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog’

New Year brings a new amphibian!

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

by Allegra Mitchell, Wildlife Biologist

 

Each New Year promises an exciting year ahead, and conservation science is no exception! As biologists gear up for the field season, CWF’s amphibian programs are particularly noteworthy.

 

Our Amphibian Crossing Project has made major strides in protecting the frogs, toads, and salamanders migrating to breeding areas, and we’re launching a new program this year to better document the newly discovered mid-Atlantic coast leopard frog. You can help CWF biologists collect data and save these fragile creatures.

 

Read below for more details about each program. In the meantime, if you would like to support CWF’s amphibian programs, please visit our YouCaring page here: https://www.youcaring.com/conservewildlifefoundationofnewjersey-1091698 . Your contribution will help us develop training materials and cover research expenses to protect our most vulnerable frogs and salamanders!

 

Amphibian Crossing: A New Twist on an Old Program

The long-standing Amphibian Crossing Project, established in partnership with the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP) in 2002, has been organizing dedicated volunteers each spring to chauffer migrating amphibians across roads as they trek from their upland hibernation sites to their breeding ponds. This program has saved thousands of frogs, toads, and salamanders from vehicle strikes so that local amphibian population sizes can be maintained, which is especially important for species of concern, such as the Jefferson and spotted salamanders.

 

Seeking a more long-term solution to the amphibian road mortality problem at the Amphibian Crossing Project’s top site, ENSP has finally secured funding to construct crossing structure system for amphibians to move safely across Waterloo Road in Byram Township, Sussex County. This system, including under-road tunnels and guide fencing, will help amphibians avoid problems on the road all season long. CWF is preparing its second year of monitoring along Waterloo Road to track the changes in amphibian vehicle-caused mortality before and after this system is installed.

 

Leopard Frogs: A New Program for a New Species

This year marks the launch of CWF’s Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs program. Similar to New Jersey’s Calling Amphibian Monitoring Program (CAMP), volunteers will listen and document frog calls during the breeding season. Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs, however, will focus specifically on the newly discovered mid-Atlantic coast leopard frog. This frog, named after the late avid herpetologist Carl Kauffeld, had been mistaken as a member of the southern leopard frog species for decades. Only recently was it determined to be a separate species with unique habitat requirements.

 

Despite only being an official species since 2014, it is already considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in New York, and may be declining from other portions of its range. CWF biologists are eager to document the current extent of this frog’s range within New Jersey in order to monitor the population for possible declines. Knowing where this species is found is the foundation for future research into its habitat needs and threats.

 

Getting the Public Involved

These amphibian programs cannot move forward without the dedication of CWF volunteers. Over 100 volunteers have been involved with the Amphibian Crossing Project, and a dozen more dedicated at least a day a week for months to monitor Waterloo Road amphibian mortality. With the success of CAMP in mind, this first year of Kauffeld’s Calling Frogs promises to be full of new frog population discoveries.

 

Make sure to follow CWF on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates on our amphibian programs as the season progresses!

 

And consider supporting our YouCaring amphibian campaign here: https://www.youcaring.com/conservewildlifefoundationofnewjersey-1091698 .

The Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog – Uncovering the past

Sunday, January 7th, 2018

by Taylor Forster, GIS Intern

©Brian R.Curry

On a Tuesday morning, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey biologist Allegra Mitchell and I, GIS Intern Taylor Forster, went to the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton. We were looking at a newly identified species recently found in one of the largest metropolitan areas – New York! I learned that this species was discovered because of its unique “call.” A “call” is the sound a male frog makes to attract a female frog, and each frog species’ call is unique. It seems that this species remained undiscovered for so long because of its similar appearance to other, closely-related leopard frog species. The cryptic nature of this new species meant that the only noticeable distinction between it and other leopard frogs was the sound it makes.

After looking at this newly discovered frog, now known as the mid-Atlantic coast leopard frog, a few defining characteristics came to light that set it apart from the other leopard frogs. These characteristics make it easier to identify other mid-Atlantic coast leopard frogs that have been preserved and categorized as other species for museum collections. With this information in mind, Ms. Mitchell and I were at the New Jersey State Museum to investigate when and where this frog had been found throughout the state before anyone realized its significance. (more…)

Jersey’s Newest Frog: The “Chuckling” Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
“Chucks” and Occasional Groans of New Species Caught on Video by Former CWF Biologist

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is excited to celebrate Amphibian Awareness Month during March 2015! Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on the amphibians of the Garden State and our work to protect them. 

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Photo: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

Photo: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

Remember back in late October of 2014 when word quickly spread about a new frog species in New Jersey? The Atlantic Coast leopard frog is mint-gray to light olive green with medium to dark spots. The frog has been found along the Delaware River and Bayshore, along Atlantic Ocean coastline, in the Meadowlands and on Staten Island.

 

Did you know this Jersey frog groans and makes cough-like sounds or “chucks” rather than typical croaking sounds? Listen closely while you watch the video, the sounds originally caught on film by former Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologist Brian Zarate, below to hear the Atlantic Coast leopard frog’s distinctive call:

 

 

Although other leopard frog species, like the southern leopard frog and northern leopard frog, have been recognized and found in New Jersey’s wetlands for some time, researchers only recently gained the ability to use technology such as DNA and digital bioacoustic analysis to present thorough evidence that the Atlantic Coast leopard frog was a unique species.

 

In March 2003, CWF Biologist Brian Zarate and other scientists volunteered to survey salamanders at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Morris County, New Jersey. As the biologists gathered in the parking lot, they heard an unfamiliar sounding frog. The group captured the frog and took photos, reasoning that it wasn’t the common southern leopard frog, and that might be a northern leopard frog released into the wild.

 

Zarate, now a zoologist with the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, moved on to other projects, but in 2007 he checked in on the strange frogs. He heard them near the same Great Swamp parking lot. He posted a video of the frog on YouTube.

 

Four years later, the group returned to Great Swamp, and found the strange frog there and in several other places too. Through the partnership of Zarate, Jeremy Feinberg, a Rutgers doctoral candidate, and Eric Kiviat, a collaborator with Hudsonia Ltd., and the implementation of new technology, it was proven that the strange frog was indeed a different species of leopard frog, the Atlantic Coast leopard frog.

 

Starting this spring, Endangered & Nongame Species Program biologists, including Zarate, will begin a two-year project mapping the potential range of the Atlantic Coast leopard frog. Biologists and volunteers alike will comb New Jersey’s wetlands in search of evidence of the frog and collect data on its habitat preferences.

 

Looking to report a possible sighting of an Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog? Contact Brian Zarate at brian.zarate@dep.state.nj.us.

 

Learn more:

 

Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Coordinator for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

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