14 Species Known
I found A. maculatum at several sites. I observed larvae at various stages of devolvement at NWHRP1, NWHRP2, WMP, EMP, ULP, and BBP, and I found two dead salamander larvae that I assume were A. maculatum in LLP in early June. The only pool from which I observed emergent metamorphs was WMP, where the coverboard array picked up three metamorphs in mid-July. There were still larvae in NWHRP2 when it dried up in mid-July. I only started the project at the end of May, so I was unable to observe the spring migration at most of my sites (though I happened to observe at least part of it at NWHRP1, NWHRP2, and EMP), so I did not intentionally seek out adults. However, the coverboard array on the hill near EMP did turn up a large adult in late July. Qualitatively, larvae seemed to develop differently in different pools. In WMP, NWHRP1 and NWHRP2 they grew relatively quickly and were generally the largest larvae at any given time. Growth rates were very variable in EMP, where I might catch larvae that varied by as much as 1 cm, and in ULP and BBP they were always extremely small.
Jefferson’s Salamander Ambystoma jeffersonianum
These can be found sparingly around the some of the vernal pools in the forest.
Northern Dusky Salamander
I found the most D. fuscus in the streams by the Hoosic River, followed by the south branch of the Birch Brook. All the other steams had about the same amount of salamanders. However, D. fuscus, both adults and larva, can be taken in almost any stream in the forest, given appropriate cover. I also found a few on the bank of BBP, under a log, and I found others incidentally along streams. I located some D. fuscus egg masses under rocks near a spring along the Taconic Crest Trail, between the trailhead and the Shepards Well Trail.
I found E. bislineata adults in all the stream systems, but I felt there were more in Ford Glen Brook than in any other. I did not find any larva in the Middle and North Branches of the Birch Brook or in the Vermont streams, but larvae were often very small, so I could easily have missed them. I occasionally observed adults on wet mossy logs as far as 1m away from the stream (even above it).
Northern Spring Salamander
I found adult G. porphyriticus in the North and South Branches of the Birch Brook, and I found larvae in the North, South, and Main branches. I did not find them in any other stream system.
I found adult N. viridescens in EMP and WMP, and I found larvae in WMP. These were the only aquatic areas where I found this species, but I found the efts in many parts of the forest. I found one at LLP during a coverboard check, and another on the Upper Loop. The places I saw them most often were in the forest between the Lower Loop and BBP, and along the Ford Glen Brook Trail. Others working in the forest reported seeing them in the Bieneke Stand. I found they were most active in the late morning after rainfall.
Red Backed Salamander
Excluding the occasional toad, P. cinereus was the only species turned up by the upland plots. There is a weak correlation between elevation and individuals found per plot, but generally I believe P. cinereus are evenly distributed over the forest, wherever the soil is a little moist. If I had to point out potential “hotspots”, I would say the best places to find them are moist, steep areas with many stones and loose soil, like the hill in the property between Northwest Hill Rd. and the Hoosic and some of the hills in the Vermont property. I found one individual guarding three eggs under a rock in -1-4. P. cinereus also turned up in the coverboard arrays at Taconic 1, Taconic 2, EMP, LLP, and BBP.
FROGS AND TOADS (Anura)
I had hoped my upland survey would turn up B. americanus, but in fact I encountered more incidentally on the trails. I saw adults on most trails, especially the Taconic Crest and the Loops. In mid July I often saw toadlets near the crossroads of the Loops. On 6/26/00 when I dip netted WMP, I observed many toadlets in the grass around the pond. I only encountered B. americanus at two upland grid points: 10-5 and 3-6.
Gray Tree Frog
I never saw any H. versicolor adults, but I heard them calling at both EMP and WMP in June and July. I found one small, undeveloped larva in EMP on 7/17/00, and I found many in WMP from late June onward. I never say any of the tadpoles develop legs, but those in WMP became so big (~4cm) and were so numerous that I have no doubt some metamorphosed. I did not encounter H. versicolor in any other location.
I only found P. crucifer in WMP, where I found tadpoles and emerging metamorphs in mid to late June. However, this species is so common, that I do not doubt one could find them in almost any body of standing water in the forest in the early spring. Tadpoles were somewhat difficult to identify, so I may have mistaken them for R. sylvatica tadpoles in other pools.
I did not see any R. catesbeiana adults, but I did find larvae in WMP and EMP. I also heard adults calling at WMP.
R. clamitans is one of the Forest’s most ubiquitous frogs. Although I rarely took them with dip netting drags, I saw them regularly at every pool except LLP and NWHRP2, where I only saw them infrequently. I also occasionally saw them along Ford Glen Brook and in wet ditches along the road or along the trails. I found tadpoles in EMP and WMP, and I caught one metamorph in EMP. This species can be found in most wet areas in the Forest.
I did not find any evidence of R. palustris in any of my surveys, but a student working at the Rosenburg Center did find one in the garden.
R. sylvatica is by far the most prolific amphibian in the forest’s bodies of standing water. Almost every pool (including those along the Taconic Crest Trail, and even in some puddles along that trail) contained a sizable school of R. sylvatica tadpoles, excluding only ULP. I occasionally encountered adults during coverboard checks and along the trails and traveling between site in many parts of the forest, but especially along the Birch Brook from the Upper Loop to BBP. Like A. maculatum, R. sylvatica larvae developed at different rates in different pools. In WMP and EMP they emerged in mid-July, while all the other pools in which I found them still had tadpoles in late July and even into August. The few tadpoles surviving in LLP at the time it dried were fairly large with hind legs, but not yet metamorphs. The same goes for those in NWHRP2. Those in OLP, NWHRP1, and BBP did not develop hind legs (or only a few did) by the beginning of August, which was when I made my last visits.