Thursday, June 10, 2010

This might be a Bufo valliceps

Y'all, I went on a super-fun creek walk today with employees of the City of Austin's Watershed Protection Department.  When I arrived at our meeting place (Fort Branch Creek at Glen Crest), I caught a glimpse of breeding season in action.  Bufo valliceps (photo ID'd by my herpetologist hubs)!! Although I wish this toad was a good ecological indicator*, these guys are quite common and can live within a broad range of environmental quality.  Here they are, celebrating life, in their own way. 
Who you callin' a Bufo valliceps? I'm a Gulf Coast Toad!

See all that stuff that looks like black strings? Those are their baby babies (a.k.a. [hopefully]fertilized eggs)!  Here is an underwater view.
Photo credit: Staryn J WagnerEnvironmental Scientist,  City of Austin, WPD

Aaaaand, lucky me, I got to hold the gooey lovies in my hand.
Photo credit: Staryn J WagnerEnvironmental Scientist,  City of Austin, WPD

Here is what they sound like (#151)!!

What does this have to do with soil?  Our activities on soil and how we manage it influences the Bufo valliceps habitat.  How!?!? Come back next time for answers ;-)  Hint: it has to do with stormwater runoff,  rainwater percolation, peak flow and velocity.

Ecological indicator: a measure of the environment (e.g. the presence/absence of an organism)  that is used to evaluate the health of an ecosystem (more technical definition here). 

1 comment:

  1. Being from the Midwest originally I LOVE creek walks. That really took me back to being a kid and exploring while walking up a creek for miles.

    Unfortunately the post I'll put up later will be like a mini Exxon/BP oil spill experiment in my own back yard :( Might be a good example of how a watershed might be effected by unintentional actions.