Big Word of the Month: Amplexus

We have had several recent posts about the explosion of life around the wetlands this spring. If you have been in Explore the Wild recently you no doubt have heard many frogs and toads calling. Earlier this week I found that some of our resident amphibians were busy making new amphibians at the edge of the bear pool.

How many toads do you see in the photo? (click on picture to see larger version)

toad amplexus
Toads in amplexus for breeding

This clump is one female American toad, Bufo americanus, with three males attached to her. This type of aggregation is called amplexus, which come from the Latin word meaning “to embrace”.  Males seek out females that are close to egg laying and then grab on to her and wait to fertilize the eggs as they are extruded.

toad egg mass
Extruded egg mass of toad

These toads had not picked the best spot to procreate. All their efforts were being sucked into the filtration system for the bear pool but they will have time to try again later!

Many more details and much better pics over at Ranger Greg’s Blog

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