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The Vernal Pool Symphony

Salamander larvae and egg

A highlight of every spring in New England is the explosion of life in vernal pools. First, beginning in March, come the fairy shrimp - - woodland crustaceans with an impossibly short life cycle (just 6-8 weeks!). They delight adults and children with their flashy colors as they flutter around under the water’s surface. Then, enter the wood frogs - - woodland frogs that freeze solid over the winter, and thaw out in early spring. They make their way to the pools and lay their eggs just a bit before the salamanders emerge and start to the do the same. Each week, the changes in the vernal pool are quite clear, as new creatures emerge from the woods, eggs hatch, and larvae develop. This past week in late May has been a particularly exciting movement in the vernal pool symphony – the hatching of salamander eggs! In the video below, CFPA staff carefully examine a mass of eggs just minutes from hatching, and even got to watch some of the young larvae emerge. We also observed hundreds of wood frog tadpoles feeding at the surface of the pool, preparing for the next stage of their lifecycle – metamorphosis!

Are you interested in exploring a vernal pool this season? Contact CFPA's education director, Emma, to set up a program! If you can get a small group together (~5-15 individuals), let us know: ekravet@ctwoodlands.org