For the first time this year I've seen signs that the annual frog courtship is about to get underway in my pond.
A pair of frogs clasping - complete with reflection of the photographer!
I've caught a few glimpses of frogs (Rana temporaria
) in the pond already this year, but here was the first definite signs that the breeding season is about to start. When I first caught sight of a frog apparently lying on its back about 8 inches below the surface of the pond, I thought that it must be dead. But a closer look revealed another frog lying underneath and tightly clasping the first around its chest.
The male (often smaller) is the one doing the clasping. It jealously guards its captive female, fending off other males trying to get a piece of the action, until the female spawns. When this happens the male is perfectly positioned to release his sperm over the emerging eggs of the female. In the southern part of the country, frogs have already begun to spawn, but they do so later the further north you travel.
Interestingly these frogs were in the deeper part of the pond. Spawning usually takes place in the shallow areas that warm up quickest in the sun. However in the relatively cold weather we had today, it is possible that the shallower areas of the pond were actually colder, perhaps explaining the frogs presence in the deeper end.