Influence of temperature on the spatial distribution of first spawning dates of the common frog (Rana temporaria) in the UK


T. H. Sparks, tel. +44 1487 772400, fax +44 1487 773467, e-mail: (before 30/1/2009); (after 30/1/2009)


Between 1998 and 2007, the UK Phenology Network collected nearly 70 000 records of the first spawn dates of the common frog Rana temporaria. Annual national mean dates varied by more than 2 weeks and were closely related to January–March temperatures. A 1 °C increase in Central England Temperature advanced national mean spawning by 5.1 days. The temporal pattern of spawning records varied between years; sometimes unimodal in form, sometimes multimodal, seemingly associated with steady or erratic rises in spring temperatures, respectively. Spatial patterns of frogspawn were similar in different years, the earliest records occurring in the southwest with records progressively later in the north and east. On average, 100 km of eastwards progression took 7.4 days and 100 km of northwards progression took 4.7 days. A composite map for the 1998–2007 period is constructed and compared with an earlier published map based on data 60 years previously. The similarity and dissimilarity of these two maps is discussed; the general progression pattern of frogspawn phenology is similar but an advance of a 10-day contour category is apparent. We anticipate further advances of frog spawning dates in the future and an increase in the numbers of pre-January 1 records of frog breeding.