Jersey is the only place in the British Isles where this amphibian is native.
The Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina) is light brown or pinkish-buff coloured frog, growing up to 9cm. They have small black spots on their back and an off-white underside and flanks, often with yellow around the base of the hind legs. They are characterised by having relatively long legs with dark-bands and pointed snouts.
Adult Agile Frogs eat earthworms and small insects such as flies and beetles, while tadpoles feed on aquatic plants and detritus.
Adults assemble at their breeding sites from February, with spawn clumps being laid around plant stems in shallow water. In Europe, Agile Frogs breed in shallow pools near the edge of woodland. In Jersey this species was also historically found in woodland, however it is now restricted to coastal heathland, breeding in shallow ponds in light scrub. The rate of egg development seems to be largely dependent upon temperature, with eggs hatching more quickly when the water is warmer. Tadpoles usually complete their metamorphosis by August.
Amphibians are especially susceptible to environmental degradation, which they face both in water and on land. While the Agile Frog is a widespread species in a European context, it has experienced dramatic declines in Jersey, with water pollution, agricultural intensification and land use change all implicated. Predation of frogspawn by ducks and non-native fish, and adult frogs by cats, also contribute to the dire situation of this species locally.
Local conservation organisations continue to work collaboratively in order to try and prevent the extinction of the Agile Frog in Jersey. Conservation measures that have been implemented include habitat management, pond creation, research, captive breeding and release projects.
Agile Frog Facts
- Adult males are rarely larger than 6.5 cm, while females can grow up to 9cm.
- Fully grown tadpoles measure 45mm.
- Spawn clumps measure 5 – 10cm across.
- Agile frogs are most active in the morning and early in the evening.
- Agile frogs can travel nearly 2m in a single leap when escaping from predators.
- Agile frogs hibernate between October and February.
- Agile frogs can live for up to 7 years in the wild.