Having finished my third week working with the Fraser Valley Wetlands Wildlife Project, I’m starting to get the hang of things! I am learning all about the best ways to care for the headstarting Oregon spotted frogs, western painted turtles, and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, here in Aldergrove, BC. in the conservation breeding program.
It’s been really exciting seeing the animals changing from day to day. Summer is well underway, which means the tadpoles are starting to metamorphose! It’s been a long time coming; the tadpoles hatched in late March. So far, three tubs are filled with hind-legged, mutant-looking tadpoles, and we’re hoping the rest will soon follow suit. Surely the hot streak we’re about to have will make it happen!
The frogs are reared in tubs filled with water. To mimic a wetland habitat, we add duckweed and floating islands covered with moss to them. Over time, algae accumulates, and critters like daphnia and water boatmen settle in. These tub inhabitants are harmless to the frogs, and create a recycling, almost self-sustaining system; the insects eat the algae and help keep the tub clean!
There are however a select few insects we’d prefer stayed out of these mini-ecosystems. Unfortunately, predacious diving beetles have infiltrated the tubs! Although these are natural predators in wetland ecosystems, we’d like to keep them out of our tubs. They are known predators of small tadpoles!
Andrea, Liam and I have been hunting these pesky critters, crouched on the edge of tubs, turkey-baster in hand, since I started. It’s an ongoing battle, but we are seeing less and less of them!
Project Assistant, Fraser Valley Wetlands Wildlife
LoyaltyOne Young Conservation Leader