Gopher Frogs on the SRS
Semlitsch et al. (1995) reported on gopher frog captures from seven wetlands on the Savannah River Site (SRS) over a 41-yr period. However, more than 300-400 isolated wetlands occur on the SRS, and the vast majority of these wetlands have never been systematically sampled for amphibian and reptile diversity.
Of the seven sites reported in Semlitsch et al. (1995), three are unlikely breeding sites for Lithobates capito at this point in timeóSun Bay was eliminated by construction activities in the early 1990s, Risher Pond has reverted to a smaller stream/beaver pond, and Rainbow Bay has become a very short hydroperiod wetland. Karenís Pond, an old borrow pit, has been searched for egg masses five years since 2005, but no masses have been located. Of the original seven sites, three remain the most likely for gopher frogs (Flamingo, Ellenton, and Bay 23), but sporadic surveys during February and March for other species at those sites from 2002 to present have not documented any adults, egg masses, or metamorphs of L. capito.
However, L. capito has been recorded in at least 10 additional wetlands on the SRS since 2002, with an additional likely record a few hundred meters off the SRS (males heard calling) Many of the new records occur in what appears to be very suitable sandhills longleaf pine/turkey oak habitat. Metamorphs have been recorded at three of these wetlands, and egg masses from five sites, with adults heard or seen at four sites. The USDA Forest Service manages the longleaf habitat with prescribed burns, and they are receptive to suggestions about burning frequency, timing, and burning of the wetlands themselves.
Semlitsch RD, JW Gibbons and TD Tuberville. 1995. Timing of reproduction and metamorphosis in the Carolina gopher frog (Rana capito capito) in South Carolina.
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