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Record number of frog egg masses are found at EAC Discovery Park Campus Ranarium

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Record number of frog egg masses are found at EAC Discovery Park Campus Ranarium

By Jessica Morgenthaler

Thatcher, AZ— At Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus, Dave Henson, EAC biology instructor, was doing a routine water chemistry check last month, when he discovered ten Chiricahua Leopard Frog egg masses.

Since receiving its first 26 frogs in the fall of 2009, a total of 15 egg masses have been harvested over the past 4.5 years at the ranarium. When harvested, they are either taken to a restored riparian habitat in the Galiuros Mountains or to the Bubbling Springs Hatchery outside Sedona.

Abi King, Ranid Specialist with Arizona Game and Fish department was called to harvest and relocate seven of the egg masses to recovery site locations. Each egg mass was determined to have from 300 to 500 eggs with a normal gestation to tadpoles being 7–10 days. EAC biology research students were on hand to assist in the process and learn proper harvesting technique from the professionals.

“Having this many egg masses this early is a pretty good indicator that there will be more to come in both the spring and the fall. The bad news is that with the drought conditions continuing here in south east Arizona we have very few natural riparian sites containing water to receive our frogs,” says Henson. “We may have to allow them to grow and morph into young adults at the Ranarium, and then hopefully move some out once the monsoon season starts in August,” he concluded.

EAC’s Discovery Park Campus and Ranarium are open to the public daily with new interpretive signs available to enhance the educational experience for students and guests to the facility.