As part of ongoing monitoring of the population size and spread of the European Common frog (Rana temporaria) in East Kilbride, CARG Membership secretary Erik Paterson took on a repeat survey of Common frog breeding sites throughout the town in 2012 to ascertain any changes in population size and spread since the conceptual survey from the year 2000.
The original report compiled by now former countryside ranger Mark Brand listed some 18 sites throughout the town that had surveyed or reported by the public. Of these 18 sites, only nine were able to be relocated and accessed, of these nine only seven were found to contain breeding frogs. In addition to the seven sites from the original report a further 23 sites were surveyed throughout the town where frogs were found to have bred bringing the total site count to 30 puddles, ponds, scrapes and lochs within the town's boundaries where Common frogs had bred during 2012.
25 of the sites were surveyed whilst spawn was still present and so a count of breeding females could be undertaken from these sites. Spawn numbers totalled 672 which indicated that the total number of female frogs which had bred in East Kilbride in 2012 was greater than 672 individuals. Spawn numbers per pond ranged from one through to 200 on one site.
Ponds where Common frogs were found to breed were located throughout East Kilbride however the sites are primarily located in the outskirts of the town. It is possible that central populations are disconnected by various barriers to dispersal such as roads with high traffic and lack of suitable connecting habitat however a more in depth look at the structure of connecting habitats with a view to ascertaining their potential suitability for amphibian dispersal would be required to pass further comment.
On the whole the survey was successful, a large number of sites were identified throughout the town as housing amphibian populations which means that during subsequent survey years, these sites can receive further attention in order to ascertain trends in the sizes of the populations present and also the species present. The data collected can then be used to help with the understanding of breeding habits with a view to possible habitat management, connection and improvement in the future.
The full detailed report can be found online at ARGUK Scottish Representative Chris Cathrine's website:
Erik Paterson, CARG Secretary