Cranberry Lake Biological Station

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Camouflage is a form of protection deployed by a wide variety of species to render themselves to prevent detection. We examined how the background substrate of the environment, in this case being the transition from streams to deciduous forests, affects the coloration of the American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus), a noxious and cryptically colored amphibian found across the Eastern United States. The general color transition from streams, with a prevalence of lighter colors, to deciduous forest, consisting of red leaf debris and dark tree shadow, should be seen in this cryptic coloration of A. americanus. Six-mile creek, Chair rock creek, East creek and Sucker brook located at Cranberry Lake, NY were selected to survey American toads. Three 100x10m belt transects, each 100m apart were run perpendicular to each stream, and the dorsal coloration of toads found inside these transects were recorded using the Munsell soil color chart. Hue and darkness of each specimen were recorded along with the distance away from the stream it was found. The distance away from the stream will be categorized into ranges and colors will be place within these ranges, so that a chi-square test would be conducted. We hypothesize that A. americanus is darker and redder as distance away from streams and into deciduous forest increases. Preliminary results have found support of this hypothesis in regards to darkness however, no significant difference in hue has been found. This indicates that toads are ecologically adapted to their respective habitat types in regards to cryptic coloration.


Cranberry Lake Director's Choice Award



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