Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘egg masses’

Crossed One Off the Bucket List

Wednesday, March 8th, 2023

by Christine Healy, Wildlife Biologist

Every January, once the confetti has settled from the new year’s celebration, I start thinking a lot about amphibians and preparing for their springtime migration. That behavior, however, is not collectively adopted by all of our local frogs and salamanders. Different species have found different ways to adapt to the challenges of a complex lifecycle that relies on environmental factors to inform physiological changes. Wood frogs, as well as spotted and Jefferson salamanders, have conformed to an early spring breeding strategy. Once the ground thaws and snow melt has raised the water level in vernal pools, they are on the move. Since amphibians in temperate climates hibernate (or more correctly, brumate – the “cold-blooded” equivalent), you might think that their appearance in February and March means that they lead the pack. While this seems a reasonable assumption, it’s actually incorrect.

A close up of an adult Eastern tiger salamander

New Jersey’s Elusive and Endangered “Tiger”

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Studying the New Jersey Endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander

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: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

TS egg mass @ Pat Sutton

Tiger Salamander egg mass @ Pat Sutton

This week, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and dedicated trained volunteers surveyed a known Eastern Tiger Salamander breeding vernal pool complex. Tiger Salamanders emerge from their underground burrows in the early winter to breed and lay egg masses in the pools. By March, the adults have returned to their burrows.


Biologists and volunteers go out to pools during the winter months to survey for egg masses to determine if the pools are being used by Tiger Salamanders. The cold winter made getting out to pools difficult due to the ice cover, so now that it is warming up we hoped to still be able to find egg masses that hadn’t yet hatched.

Surveying for TS egg masses

Surveying for Tiger Salamander egg masses


One hundred sixty egg masses were found in the largest pool, some the of eggs had already hatched but others were still intact. Tiger Salamander larvae was seen along with the larvae of the Marbled Salamander. Vernal pools are breeding grounds for many species which is why it is so important to protect them.


Marbled Salamander larvae @ Pat Sutton

Marbled Salamander larvae @ Pat Sutton


In New Jersey, there are only 15 known Tiger Salamander breeding pools in the southern most part of the state. Tiger Salamanders themselves are targeted by collectors for the pet trade which is why their breeding locations are kept a secret. Their habitat is declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, development, pollution, changes in hydrology, and climate change.


To see what biologists are doing to protect them visit:

Larissa Smith is a Wildlife Biologist and the Volunteer Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.