5 and 6-legged friend

Our first afternoon at Elk Island National Park was spent deploying a variety of traps in two different sites: a marshy area and a mature aspen stand. Traps included Malaise traps, pan traps, pitfall traps, and interception traps, all specifically designed to catch insects that are strong or weak flyers, crawlers, or simply attract them using bright colours.  A Berlese funnel sample was also collected by gathering leaf litter and funneling the invertebrates present into a vial of ethanol. The aspen stand had a broad diversity flying insects, some of them grabbing a snack from our exposed flesh, others were pollinators just browsing flowers growing amongst our traps such as the wild rose. This also proved to be a pain in the butt”…literally! We all left the site with itchy welts and scraps from the many rose thorns. We also discovered a curious little wood frog with a special extra feature. This was in the form of an extra leg, which sprouted from the little guy’s chest.

5-legged frog, Elk Island National Park

In the marshy area, we found 100’s more like him, with the regular number of limbs. It was difficult to take a step without squashing one of these tiny frogs, and the whole marsh was filled with their chorusing croaks. We figured that there must be a lot of insects at this site just to feed the vast quantity of amphibians living there.