ARC's Pool Frog Recovery Project Assistant, Emily Jordan gives a project update and shares some great news from our reintroduced pool frogs in Norfolk

Following on from our releases of captive-reared tadpoles in July, the pool frog recovery team has been busy surveying for emerging ‘metamorphs’. A metamorph is a young frog that has just completed metamorphosis; it has developed hind and fore-limbs, and has absorbed all or most of its tail. Once the tail is completely absorbed metamorphs look like miniature versions of the adult frog. The numbers present are an indicator of breeding success in that year.

This August we were able to find a really promising number of metamorphs at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Thompson Common, the highest count since they were introduced to this site in 2015! Metamorphs were present at wild-breeding ponds as well as ponds where we had released captive-reared tadpoles, indicating that the frogs multiplied well naturally in addition to receiving a boost from head-starting efforts.

At the initial reintroduction site (a confidential location) the population is likewise continuing to spawn successfully and we have observed emerging metamorphs across multiple ponds, some of which were also supplemented with head-started animals. This is great news for both of the populations and hopefully we will continue to see increases in future years.

The Institute of Zoology has carried out regular health examinations of pool frogs (and other amphibians) at both reintroduction sites since the species was reintroduced to England, with the latest examinations conducted during August this year to coincide with metamorph emergence. No significant health or disease problems have been detected and the pool frog recovery team and the rest of ARC hopes the results of this year’s examinations will be no different.

The next steps for the project will be looking to expand the head-starting programme and identify new sites for the establishment of further northern pool frog populations. This will help to ensure the security of this unique species for years to come.

If you would like to find out more about this project, funded by Green Recovery Challenge Fund, visit our 'Recovering the pool frog – England’s rarest amphibian' project page.