Friday, March 21, 2014

Nocturnal Biodiversity

Spring is here!  And it really feels like it here in Marburg.  On Wednesday, we observed one of the signs of spring - the frogs came to our local vernal pools to lay their eggs (vernal pools are are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for distinctive plants and animals, according to Wikipedia.  They look like puddles.  Okay, some are bigger than puddles.  But it depends on how much rain there's been.).

So, this blog post will be relatively short, and highlight some of the biodiversity one can see in and near the vernal pools of Marburg in spring:

First: the star of the night: Feuersalamander!  Or Fire Salamanders, for those of you that speak English (some words are just better in German, although the Latin Salamandra salamandra is pretty awesome too!)

The photos don't do them justice.  They look even cooler in real life!

The coin is a 1 Euro, which is 2.3 cm in diameter (for those of you wondering what that is in inches, switch to the metric system, it's better!)
Most likely a Fire Salamander larva.  Breeding takes place on land, and then the females carry the eggs and young larvae around for months before letting them loose into the wide world of hungry predators

Likely the Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

Frog eggs!
Even more eggs!

 Vernal pools also have invertebrate life.  Below is a diving beetle, and below that are some pictures of two spiders (you can see them at night by their bright green eyeshine!) and also a cool yellow slug.

Larger than life size

Larger than life size.  Otherwise there would be fewer mice.
Even in the water, you are not safe from spiders.

There are cool slugs in Germany.  This one was yellow.  I don't know if it will turn into the giant orange slugs we see later in the year.

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