Is it spring already? Frogspawn seen in Cornwall four months early

Expert fears it will not 'survive the frosts we are experiencing'

Ian Johnston
Thursday 27 November 2014 02:19

Frogspawn has been found in Cornwall four months before it is supposed to appear, according to a report.

The discovery – the earliest sighting for nearly 10 years – was made by a National Trust ranger, Rachel Holder, on the North Predannack Downs nature reserve on the Lizard.

She told The Guardian: “This year I first saw frogspawn on 21 November, which is early, but not unheard of in a Cornish context.

“The gamble of getting ahead in the breeding game must be worth taking, and the risk of a severe cold snap which could freeze the spawn is worth braving.”

Frogspawn was seen on 26 October in 2005 – the earliest recorded date – but usually appears in March.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite, who organises the Woodland Trust’s Nature’s Calendar survey, told the paper: “Although spring is generally arriving earlier, to receive a frogspawn sighting before winter has properly begun is highly unusual.

“Sadly it is unlikely the spawn will now survive the frosts we are experiencing.”

Climate change is believed to be causing increasing problems for wildlife as they struggle to adapt to changing conditions.

For example, a study published earlier this month found that the early spider orchid and a bee, Andrena nigroaenea, which evolved together, were getting out of sync because of the warming temperatures.

The orchid, which normally flowers before the female bees emerge, is pollinated by the male bees because they think the flower is a female bee and try to mate with it.

While the orchid was flowering six days earlier for each one degree Celsius increase in temperature, the female solitary bees were emerging 15 days earlier for each degree and the male bees were coming out nine days earlier, a University of East Anglia study found. This means that the male bees have more actual females to mate with and are less likely to fall for, and therefore pollinate, the plant fake.

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