Spring 2012 faunal survey

Observations made during Jefferson Salamander breeding period in a very early spring with unusually high temperatures and after a very mild winter with rain rather than snow fall.

14, 23 & 25 March 2012 observations:

 

  1. Vernal Pools:
    1. No evidence of salamander egg masses in any of the vernal pools.
    2. Noticed the presence of a finger-nail clam species (Spehariidae) in vernal pools close to Neyagawa Road west of the Neyagawa Forest stream (broadly flooded by stream and road runoff). No evidence of clams was noticed in all other vernal pools (that doesn’t mean they are not there). These clams were present in ponds – see below.
  2. Rain fed only ponds
    1. Pond #1 – Located  in the forest close to the eastern edge of the forest at WP 47,
      1. March 14: the presence of at least 30 or more relatively large tadpoles at a prehind leg stage.
      2. March 25: two tadpole captured and measured. 70 – 75mm long, 27 – 30mm body length, 42 – 43mm tail length, 15 – 18mm body width, and 10 – 12mm body hight.
        1. The tad poles might be hibernating Green frog tadpoles (Lithobates clamitans) (too small to be bull frog tadpoles at the same stage?).
      3. March 25: Basking single individua of
        1.  Leopard frog (L. pipiens) and
        2. Spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata; endengered)
      4. March 25: Water snails (not yet identified), Water-striders (Gerridae), Backswimmer bug (Notonectidae), Predaceous Diving beetles (Dysticidae), and a few Whirling beetles (Gyrinidae).
    2. Pond water sample including leaf litter taken from the southern edge of the pond ~500mL.
      1. Examination of the sample between March 25 and April 5 revealed the  presence of :
        1. Finger-nail clams (Spehariidae)
          1. three specimens ranging from 2mm to 7mm in length.
          2. by April 2nd/3, 3 more small clams have been observed, probably buried in the muck now large enough to become evident (1.5 to 3mm)
          3. April 5, all clams collected and stored in 70% Isoporopanol.
            1. 7 small calms (2.1 to 2.4mm)
            2. 2  larger clams (5.8 and 7.4mm)
        2. Active Podocopid Ostracoda (one or two possible species, 0.2mm long)
          1. by April 3rd, specimens detected rangefrom about .5mm to 2mm.
          2. evidence of empty shells keeps increasing with the passing of days
          3. April 3rd, observed one less then a tenth of a mm specimen.
          4. April 4, pictures of a shell showing the muscle scar pattern consistent with the specimen belonging to the Cypridacea superfamily and possibly of the genus Paracypris spp.
          5. April 5, two specimens collected (~1mm)
        3. Small-Minnow-Mayfly larvae (Callibaetis spp.)
          1. 6.5mm long; two such larvae in the sample
          2. by April 2nd, both have molted once and are reaching 7 to 8mm
        4. Freshwater shrimp (Amphipoda, Hyallela azteca complex)
          1. one light ochre specimen in the sample ~5 to 6mm (has a characteristic black rings in the base of the last antennal segment of the anterior pair).
          2. by April 2nd, the specimen has molted once and has become of a darker grayish colour.
          3. a second specimen found by April 3; same size as the first one.
        5. Hydra (Hydrozoa, Hydra spp.)
          1. green specimens with 5 tentacles, a total of 3 specimens observed
          2. by April 2nd, one specimen has a younger budding one on its side.
          3. by April 3rd, this specimen has moved about 6cm to a new location
        6. Green spheroid “cysts” unidentified
          1. 5 to 6 such globules
          2. by April 2nd, only 3 are left
          3. by April 3rd, only one left
        7. Jelly masses (two, a few cm long) consisting of ~1 mm transparent eggs with a white aggregate in the centre.
          1. no appreciable change in the eggs by April 2nd
          2. by April 3rd, one of the egg masses contains an active prodding translucent plychaete about 2 to 2.5mm long with pairs of long seate. (Bristleworm)
          3. no rotating motion was noted in the egg’s central aggregate
        8. Hard translucent moulded amber casing containing a layer of eggs ~ 1mm transparent eggs with a white aggregate in the centre.
          1. no appreciable change in the eggs by April 2nd
          2. by April 3rd, the center was filmed showing slow rotations that were consistent with a blastula
        9. One golden Pigmy Backswimmer (Pleidae, Neoplea striola)
          1. April 3rd, a highly conves golden coloured 2mm backswimmer. Its silvery abdomen consistent with air trapped in its abdominal surface.
          2. Identity confirmed April 5.
        10. Cyclopoids. Abundant in the sample. Possible two to three different species.
          1. A cycle of abundance and diminishment noticed for these small crustaceans.
        11. Protozoans. Abundant in the sample
        12. Blue-green Algae. Closteriaceae, Closterium spp. First specimen observed April5.
  3. Runoff and rain fed ponds
    1. Pond #2 (in the open pond located close to the eastern edge of Polygon III at WP P2).
      1. March 25: the presence of at least 20 or more relatively large tadpoles at a pre hind leg stage.
      2. March 25: No egg masses detected in the pond. March 25: Presences of at least 2 newts (Red transforming or Central newt; Notophthalmus viridescens).
      3. March 25: Water snails (not yet identified), Water-striders (Gerridae), Backswimmer bug (Notonectidae), and a large colony of Whirling beetles (Gyrinidae).
  4. Marshes with open water fed by runoff and rain
    1. Central Fen/Marsh in Polygon I at WP 72.
      1. March 14: Except for bacterial “clouds” there was no evidence of amphibian activity.
      2. March 25: Identification of an ant hill within the swamp.
      3. March 25: still no evidence of any amphibian activity.
    2. Polygon V. Marsh complex
      1. WP 74.  Slow draining brook off the marsh in Polygon V.  Mud chimneys. Non was taller than 2 to 3 inches. Central tube diameter ranges from 15 to 25mm. Two species are possible the Devil Crayfish (Camburus diogenes) or the Digger Crayfish (Fallicambarus fodiens). The habitat of both these species is threatened.
      2. WP 75 3 to 5 Chorus frogs (Psuedacris triseriata) heard in the marsh. WP 76 (boundary of the marsh with the open field to the south east). Evidence of a crayfish chimney.
      3. WP 79 (south edge of the marsh boundary with remnant tree line. Evidence of Spring Peeper (Pseudacris cruciifer).

 

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