This post is a response to John May’s comments in which he said:
I highly doubt the mud pits in the trail are breeding grounds for amphibians when folks are running and biking through said puddles.
We beg to differ and offer photos. Here is a picture of American Toad tadpoles that I took on the main Bolin Creek trail.
Note the exceedingly shallow depth of the water. Amphibians avoid laying eggs in deep creeks because they are predated upon by fish and turtles. Amphibians lay eggs in temporary Spring pools, puddles, and even trash can lids, to avoid predation. Remember also that the swimming ability of a young tadpole is limited. They often rest in very shallow water to avoid drowning. There are no fish in temporary pools, because fish require water for their environment 365 days a year, hence the temporary pool is the ideal location for larval amphibians, who will eventually leave the water.
This second photo shows a mass of Spotted Salamander eggs.
This photo was also taken on the main Bolin creek trail. These larva will resemble tadpoles, but will have feathery external gills when they hatch. As they develop, the external gills will disappear. The average egg mass holds about 100 eggs, and some Salamanders lay more than one egg mass. Amphibians do indeed use the Main Bolin Creek trail as a breeding site. They also use a nearby vernal pool. It is believed that each generation will return to their birthplace to lay their eggs. It is not in the interest of the wildlife to pave over the breeding sites of our Amphibians.
If the puddles are gone so too will these critters.