Spring Has Sprung (and it is music to my ears)

Spring Has Sprung (and it is music to my ears)

Spring is really upon us, I do not believe there is any chance of turning back now to the snow and cold of a winter like day. Tonight I heard the chorus of spring peepers, and it is music to my ears. For me there is nothing that announces the arrival of spring more eloquently than this tiny frog. The chorus is an introduction for the annual rebirth the takes place each spring. Spring peeper, Pseudacris Crucifer, its scientific name refers to the "X" on its back; it is amazing that such a small tree frog can make such a loud call. Seldom seen, most often only heard, they are only about an inch long. They have perfect camouflage a brown or green color and the irregular shaped "X" on its back allows the frog to blend well into the background. The chorus, which sounds like thousands of frogs "singing", in my backyard is probably only about a hundred. Only the male sings and the call can be heard for almost half a mile. This is the smallest frog in New York State and it is the first to call in the early spring. The male sings to attract a female to mate with. The female lays between 800 and 1000 eggs which hatch in a few days. The numbers of eggs is quite remarkable when you see how small the frog is.

The spring peeper starts life as a tadpole in a vernal pool or puddle in the woods; for about three months then metamorphose into an adult frog. The rush to mate early in the spring is so the tadpoles can develop into frogs before the puddles dry up in the summer. This nocturnal frog lives about three years, eating small insects, ants, and spiders. Spring peepers hibernate under leaves or tree bark in the winter emerging in the spring as soon as the ground thaws. This tiny frog uses glucose as antifreeze in its organs to keep them from freezing during the winter.

At sunset tonight go outside and sit back and enjoy the music!

By Tom Marks


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