Northern pool frogs return to the UK

Northern pool frogs return to the UK

World News

The northern pool frog, Pelophylax lessonae, is one of the rarest amphibians on Earth. The importance of the species to Britain was only realised in 1995 when it had already become extinct in this country. It is now thriving again thanks to a reintroduction programme.

With the only known populations in Estonia and Sweden, special permission was needed to bring frogs from Sweden to re-establish a colony. These have bred so successfully that stock from the first site is being used to create other breeding populations.

The greatest success came last year when the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust raised tadpoles in special tanks and released 542 of them into ponds at Thompson Common in Norfolk. To create the perfect habitat, natural ponds were cleared of excess vegetation and other species thrived as a result.

Unlike the common frog, Rana temporaria, which has already laid its spawn, the pool frog waits until the water warms up in May and June. The males make a lot of noise with special pouches on either side of the throat, and the spawn is laid in smaller clumps. After breeding, the frogs – which have a distinctive stripe down their backs – resume basking in the summer sun.

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