Vernal Pools

Vernal Pool

Vernal pools supply a fascinating and transitory habitat, that signals the arrival of spring in the forest. Essential small wetlands, these pools hold water often from rain or snow melt. Typically they disappear by summer. So why “Vernal”? Vernal refers to the Vernal Equinox, which this year arrives about 11am EST on March 20th. At this point the sun’s path is halfway between the lowest point of the winter and the highest of summer. In other words – it is officially spring. So Vernal pools are Spring pools.

With the arrival of that season these pools become a mad house of amphibian love. Who hasn’t heard a chorus of “peepers” singing through the springtime woods? These are wood frogs calling their mates to spawn in these hidden little wetlands. And, amigo, the sex is wild; some fail to make it out alive! This year the “peepers” are well ahead of schedule, due to the weird winter we are having. But the lack of snow here in New England means the vernal pools are smaller, making it a difficult spring for frogs and spotted salamanders.

 

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