Vernal Pond

 Vernal Pond

 

Vernal ponds are enclosed depressions that are natural or man-made. They can hold water for at least two consecutive months in one year. Because of this, vernal ponds are not the best habitat for breeding fish populations. However, vernal ponds do provide a home to many other species that include amphibians, insects, reptiles, plants, and other wildlife. The absence of fish is what makes this kind of ecosystem very unique.

 

Since fish are known to be highly predatory on amphibian eggs and larvae, the vernal pond would provide a safe environment for salamanders and frogs. As a result, these species of salamanders and frogs took advantage of this fish-less body of water.

 

Species that are dependent upon vernal ponds are known as "obligate vernal pond breeders." In New Jersey, there are seven species (5 salamanders and 2 frogs) that fit this category. Another fourteen of New Jersey's amphibians also use vernal pools for breeding, but unlike the “obligate vernal pond breeders”, these species can reproduce in habitats that contain fish. These species are known as "facultative vernal pond breeders."

 

Obligate Vernal Pond Breeding Amphibians (7):

 

Eastern Tiger Salamander

 

Marbled Salamander

 

Spotted Salamander

 

Jefferson Salamander

 

Blue-Spotted Salamander

 

Wood Frog

 

Eastern Spadefoot Toad

 

FacultativeVernal Pond Breeding Amphibians (14):

 

Green Frog

 

Bullfrog

 

Pickerel Frog

 

Southern Leopard Frog

 

Carpenter Frog

 

Northern Spring Peeper

 

Northern Cricket Frog

 

New Jersey Chorus Frog

 

Upland Chorus Frog

 

Northern Gray Treefrog

 

Southern Gray Treefrog

 

Pine Barrens Treefrog

 

Four-Toed Salamander

 

Long-Tailed Salamander