The frogs are spawning

I was beginning to worry that despite all the pond activity we were destined to be spawnless this year. The mild weather tends to encourage early breeding, but we were well past last year's spawning date (24/25 February), and I've seen spawn elsewhere in the South Downs. It also appeared in the North Downs a few days ago. I needn't have worried. There were several healthy clumps in the pond when I looked outside today.

The red is caused by the camera flash penetrating the spawn

You can see the cells dividing on the right of the picture

More cell division

If previous years are a guide, there should be further clumps appearing over the next few nights. The vast quantity won't result in many new frogs though. Some spawn will fail, many of the tadpoles won't survive, and a good quantity will be eaten by the newts. But by late May we should have froglets, like this little one from last year.

Froglet from late May 2007

Camera note: the first clump was photographed with the EF70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM lens. The rest were taken with the Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG macro and ring flash. I added extension tubes for the final two shots of the spawn.

This entry was posted in frog spawn and tagged .


  1. cakkleberrylane March 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm #

    How very interesting! Thanks for a most informative post!

  2. SittingFox March 1, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    Fascinating indeed! Amazing to see the cell division. I want a macro lens :whistle:

  3. Ukwildlife March 1, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    The cell division is amazing. Unfortunately, I dont get spawn anymore. Used to have toad spawn every year but less and less until now, when we usually have one toad. Its very sad 🙁

  4. Words March 1, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    I'm glad you found it interesting. I need to learn more about this stage of the life cycle, and found a site that is about at my level. I can barely see anything when I take the shots, certainly not the cell division (on the close-ups the lens is nearly touching the spawn). and there's almost no light, hence the need for flash. I'll take more shots over the next few weeks to see how they develop.

  5. Vulpes vulpes March 1, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    Most interesting! Great post.

  6. Mickeyjoe-Irl March 1, 2008 at 11:03 pm #

    Looking forward to seeing things progress :up:

  7. BitzyMe March 2, 2008 at 12:03 am #

    Incredible view of this life cycle! Simply amazing!

  8. Flying Red Fox Blog March 2, 2008 at 6:03 pm #

    Very interesting and great close up detail of the Spawn, well done, iam glad you got some in the end, they were probably waiting for the right time i suppose.:D

  9. Words March 2, 2008 at 11:03 pm #

    I think there's more spawn tonight, thought it's tricky to tell. the clumps tend to spread out a bit. The cell division isn't very consistent (or the clumps were laid at different times). The most advanced one I've seen so far is this:

  10. FrogBoots March 3, 2008 at 8:03 pm #

    Wow!!:eyes: What wonderful photos! :up: Thanks so much for sharing with us, and I look forward to following the progress of the spawn. 🙂

  11. UrbanExtension March 7, 2008 at 7:03 am #

    Just wanted to thank you for putting me on your "top blogs" list. You will also be going on mine. I came to you via Blue Grey (another great blog). Brilliant photos above! Jane

  12. anonymous April 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    kittenboss writes:

    that spwan look sso healthy and the photos are really inetersting.

  13. Words April 7, 2008 at 9:04 pm #

    Thanks. You can see the whole sequence over here.