One of my favorite times of year is that brief two-to-three week transition in late March and early April when winter turns to spring. During the last few years I have spent that winter-to-spring transition studying wood frogs (Rana sylvatica). Wood frogs are an incredibly exciting amphibian to study. During the brief breeding season, male wood frogs gather together in large leks to mate. In these leks, the males wrestle and “cluck”; at one another as they attempt to mate with incoming female wood frogs. When female wood frogs enter the lek, multiple males will grab the females, clinging to her until one male wins out. Sometimes the male wood frogs are in such a mating frenzy that they will grab other amphibians like they would a female wood frog.
In the video here, a male tiger salamander has come too close to the wood frog lek, and has been grabbed by several males. I freed this male salamander and let him swim away. I don’t know what his fate would have been if I hadn’t released him; the wood frogs might have drowned him.