AMPHIKULT’s efforts show first successes

March 2012

Moor frogs settle in new ponds

Mating Moor frogs

Moor frogs settle in new ponds

The amphibian conservation project LIFE AMPHIKULT of NABU Niedersachsen, which has been in progress for a little over two years, is now bearing fruit. Numerous Moor frogs were observed reproducing at newly created water bodies.

The Moor frog is one of the target species of the AMPHIKULT project. The species habitually settles in habitats with a high ground water level and has suffered a severe population decline nationwide for many years. During the course of the project, about 80 new spawning grounds have been created to support the reproduction success of the Moor frog, among others. While surveying the nature reserve Aschener Moor in the Diepholz district, project manager Dr. Markus Richter was able to establish that more than a hundred Moor frogs had visited two of the new water bodies for reproduction. Male Moor frogs made use of the warm and sunny weather to attract the females with their mating calls. These calls reveal the presence of the otherwise rather shy animals. After mating, the females deposit their eggs in spawn clumbs the size of a human fist. Altogether, Richter counted more than a hundred spawn clumbs in various locations. Thus, this local Moor frog population already ranks as one of the more significant in the region.

Amphibians were already documented at individual AMPHIKULT ponds last year, they were, however, members of widespread, non-endangered species.

It’s nothing new that the Moor frog populates the Aschener Moor. In recent years, however, only a small number of animals could be observed, moreover, their spawn dried up in some years because the areas of water dried out too soon. Hydrology was improved considerably by creating ground depressions and by building walls to prevent the water from draining off. The immediate settlement of the ponds indicates that the new water bodies meet the Moor frog's standards regarding shallow waters that warm up quickly. A total of eight water bodies were created at the border of the Aschener Moor. The area provides suitable terrestrial habitats for the Moor frog on a large scale. A significant increase of the Moor frog population can be anticipated for the near future.