California Red-Legged Frog Egg Mass

California red-legged frogs are listed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened where ever they are found.

california-red-leg-frog-cropped

This is an adult California Red-legged frog.

Around March 1 is the time of year when we see California red-legged frog egg masses in our ponds. Here is an egg mass photographed on February 26.

IMG_2877 CRF egg mass

This red-legged frog egg mass stands out because it is covered with silt from the murky pond water. The egg mass was photographed on February 26, 2017.

These eggs will produce larva (tad poles) which will eventually morph into frogs by July or August. We see the juvenile frogs in the ponds into late September. During the fall they will disappear from the ponds and move into underground burrows or other hiding places to endure the winter months.

juvenile red leg frog cropped

Juvenile red-legged frogs live in the ponds until fall when they will depart for underground burrows which provide winter security.

The Checkerspot Butterfly

This is a photo of a chalcedon checkerspot butterfy. The photo was taken by Rob Fletcher on May 28, 2008 in the hills south of Livermore.

May is the time when the butterflies are out at the ranch.  A different (from the one in the photo) species of checkerspot, the bay checkerspot, is closely associated with serpentine soils. Some soils on our ranch have charactaristics similar to serpentine soils. These soils are found on rocky outcroppings. Some host plants for the endangered butterfly are found on our property.

These soil types have a low ratio of calcium to magnesium, low nitrogen levels and high levels of toxic minerals. Although there are numerous plants associated with serpentine soil types, the total plant biomass is typically low.

For various reasons, serpentine soils (which were never abundant) are becoming increasingly scarce, hence the listing of many associated flora and fauna, including the bay checkerspot.

Another photo taken by Rob Fletcher on June 28, 2008. These checkerspots are on coyotemint, a nectar plant for the butterfly. According to my resource these butterflies live in the adult stage for about one week.