Monday, April 2, 2012

Episode 105 (4-2-12): Spring Peepers

A revised version of this episode is Episode 570, 3-29-21.

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of April 2, 2012. 

This week, we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you recognize these calls and chorus, which you may have heard on spring evenings in areas near standing water.


If you guessed: Spring Peepers—you’re right!  These frogs’ mating calls are produced by the males when air in a throat pouch is drawn across the voice box.  Like other frogs, toads, and salamanders, Spring Peepers are amphibians and rely on water for reproduction.  Snowmelt and spring rain provide ephemeral – or temporary – ponds and pools where many amphibians’ eggs transform into tadpoles and eventually into land-dwelling adults.  For Spring Peepers in Virginia, this metamorphosis takes about 90 to 100 days.  As temperatures drop through fall and into winter, peepers enter a type of hibernation, during which parts of their bodies may temporarily form ice crystals and freeze!  In spring, as ephemeral waters thaw or reappear, the cycle begins again.  Though you may not see these tiny, one-inch frogs, their mating calls are prevalent across the Commonwealth, reminding us of the complex and crucial role of our Virginia waters.  Thanks to Heather Vereb for writing this week’s script.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

Sources: Information on Spring Peppers was taken from the Rhode Island Vernal Pools Web site at (3/28/12), the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Web site at (3/30/12), and the Virginia Herpetological Society Web site at (3/30/12).

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at

Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.