A brilliant piece of detective work has lead to an amazing discovery in Middle Tennessee. An audio recording of a Pickerel Frog has confirmed the animal exists in Nashville's Warner parks.
The species is found across East Tennessee, but few are known to live in Middle and Western Tennessee counties. None were known to exist in Davidson County until now.
The Center for Field Biology at Austin Peay State University confirmed the species, first noticed by park naturalist Kim Bailey.
Bailey said she heard the frogs singing on March 20 in a pond in the Burch Reserve and again on April 17 near the Warner Park Nature Center. She then managed to capture a recording of the animal's distinctive, low-pitched call.
"I was very excited, because when I was climbing up the hill with my headlamp and recording device, I knew that something new was calling immediately," she said.
Bailey never found the frog, but she kept hearing it.
"It took me a minute, because there are 21 identified species in Tennessee. And I had to think, 'which one is this,'" she said. "And I immediately identified it down to two, then used my recording to figure out which one it was. It sounds like a low-pitched snore."
Bailey said the finding is a sign that the park's ecosystem is healthy, despite drops in amphibian populations because of development.
"They have porous skin, permeable skin, so they are particularly sensitive to toxins. So for them to travel into a new county, that is a good indication that the ecosystem is healthy," Bailey said. "And biodiversity, of course, is the hallmark of ecosystem health, so all of those lead us to think that a new species in Davidson County is a great find."
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