Jersey Amphibian and Reptile Group (JARG)
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About us

About Us

The Group, formerly known as The Agile Frog Group, originally formed in 1993, it was then was renamed to Jersey Amphibian & Reptile Group, JARG, in 2007. The aims of JARG are to:

- Raise awareness of our 3 Amphibian Species and 4 Reptile Species.
- Collect and collate herpetofauna records, sharing these with www.recordpool.org.uk & www.jerseybiodiversitycentre.org.je
- Encourage the general public to report their herpetofauna sightings.
- Conserve the native amphibians and reptiles through study and direct action.
- Provide general advice on our amphibian and reptile species as well as their habitat management.

The Amphibian and Reptile Species found on Jersey are:


Amphibians

- The Jersey Toad aka Crapaud (Bufo spinosus)
- Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina)
- Palmate Newt (Lissotriton helveticus)

Reptiles

- Grass Snake (Natrix helvetica)
- Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)
- Green Lizard (Lacerta bilineata)
- Wall Lizard (Podarcis muralis)

 

All 3 Amphibians and 4 Reptiles are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife (Jersey) Law 2000.

 

Amphibians and reptiles suffer from a poor public image – feared by some people and simply misunderstood by many others. It is important to encourage public appreciation and awareness of amphibians and reptiles by providing the opportunity for people to become involved in wildlife recording and conservation.

Many people have never seen a lizard or a snake and would not know where to see one; yet with simple guidance, the experience could be brought to many people, whilst overcoming the negative perceptions that often hamper conservation efforts.

News

News

Agile Frog Head-starting Program 2011

Posted on Tuesday 11th October, 2011
The 2011 head-starting program at Durrell in conjunction with the Recovery group and Jersey Department of the Environment began in earnest in March with the arrival of spawn and hatchlings delivered by States’ staff to the facilities at Durrell.  This year also included some intensive trials of specific dietary routines aimed at maximizing the dietary regime for tadpole growth.  This trail was conducted with the great efforts of student Mark Beresford of the University of Plymouth assisted by Intern Arturo Munoz of the Bolivian Amphibian Initiative.  This trial included the administration of 3 diets to specific tanks over the course of the rearing process.  These diets; traditionally used fish flake, fish flake with bloodworm addition, and a blended diet (consisting of trout pellets, grass pellets, river shrimp, tubifex, spirulina, calcium powder and fish flake) were assigned to a limited number of tanks and fed as needed to each group.  A sample of tadpoles from each diet was selected twice weekly to be measured against a standardized grid to monitor growth rates.

During the course of the diet trials some interesting observations were made.  Initially it appeared that the tadpoles on the blended diet were growing slightly faster than the other diet groups, which was somewhat as we expected.  It was at this point that we began to notice some tadpoles with slightly crooked tails, mostly among the blended diet groups.  At this point we suspected the diet as the cause of the problem and the blended diet was stopped with the tadpoles from that group put on the standard fish flake regime.  As the tadpoles continued to develop the bent tail occurrences began to be seen in the other tanks as well (at a lower proportion), eventually all tanks presented with a proportion of individuals with bent tails.  As tadpoles began to develop further and back legs developed it was clear that some of the legs were also developing bowed which prevented them from functioning properly.  This development occurred independently from the bent tails. 

Overall the data collected appears to indicate that kinked tails developed more frequently in the blended diet group, but it was also present in a lower frequency in both bloodworm and fish flake groups. In contrast, the deformed legs appeared more abundantly in the blended diet and fish flake diet in comparison to lower frequencies, but still present, in the bloodworm diet.  Due to the timing of these occurrences rather late in the development of the tadpoles such that some releases had already occurred to Ouaisne.  As a result of these issues veterinary staff from Durrell, the States and staff from both institutions decided that the best solution was to preserve as many specimens as possible for viral, parasitic and molecular analysis. Some of the lesser affected tadpoles were retained to asses for potential vitamin B deficiency.  Trials with vitamin B baths were conducted but preliminary results are not enough evidence to make a strong conclusion on a cause of these issues.  Less tadpoles developed bent legs on the vitamin B supplement, however it is not known if they would have developed them naturally, or if the vitamin B actually prevented the deformity.

The total number of tadpoles release into Ouaisne this year was 2463.  Future analysis will look more deeply into a potential cause of these deformities including possible temperature effects (this year was warmer than normal) and potential monitoring of wild tadpoles for comparison to captive reared populations as we have no evidence to know whether wild populations faced increased deformities or similar situations as the captive reared populations this year.

 


Toadwatch 2011

Posted on Tuesday 11th October, 2011
2011 has been a strange year for Toadwatching!

It was so dry for so long that we were very concerned that conditions would never be right for the toads to make their way to their breeding ponds. However we made our first patrol at Grand Vaux reservoir this year on 23rd February  and were successful in saving a handful of toads (together with some newts) from the perils of the road.  We continued our patrol at St Ouen’s Bay and although we found very few toads there too, we were pleased to be able to help a few here to safety.

We then waited for another suitable night…. and we waited…and we waited……the rain never seemed to come and so we decided to try another tack this year. Two of our keen Toadwatchers agreed to take responsibility for watching the roads in their area and reporting back to us on their findings. This seemed to be more sensible given the conditions - rather than a large group of us turning out to one area we were able to cover more areas on a regular basis. However we received no reports of large numbers of toads moving en masse nor of huge numbers killed on the roads and we just have to hope that they made their way to their ponds and back quietly and safely when we were not watching!

The strange season weather-wise also resulted in fewer reports of sightings of toads than normal but the reports we did receive have all been logged and we will be able to monitor trends each season.

We will be out and about again in 2012 looking for toads and hoping to hear lots  of reports from the people of Jersey again then.

 


Agile Frog Summary of 2011 Breeding Season

Posted on Tuesday 11th October, 2011

Monitoring of the 2011 breeding season began on the 3rd February in relatively mild weather conditions with good levels of standing water across the sites. For the third year running spawning had begun by the 2nd week of February and continued for a further 5-6 weeks. The bulk of the spawn was laid in the first 3 weeks in relatively shallow areas of water and by the end of March significant numbers had hatched or were close to hatching. In total the numbers of spawn clumps laid was 116 and although slightly down on 2010, it is still very high in the context of recent years.

Unfortunately the late winter and early spring became one of the driest for many years and as a consequence water levels fell rapidly across all sites. As a result of the dry conditions and falling water levels many spawn clumps were either transferred to Durrell as part of the head-starting and dietary investigation program* or had to be moved in situ to deeper water and subjected to netting and bagging.

Whilst studies conducted in 2009 (Jameson.A.) demonstrated no significant effects on emergent populations by such disturbance there may well be un-quantified knock-on effects on this years in situ population from such rapidly falling water levels in terms of habitat conditions and available food sources.

 It may be too early to make a connection between changes in climate and a seasonal shift in weather conditions. However if the last two consecutive dry springs become a more prolonged and enhanced feature of our weather then it may seriously threaten the development of tadpoles to full term and the recently improving status of the agile frog in Jersey.

As in 2010 the abundance and distribution in the sightings of agile frogs and spawn clumps across sites continues to be encouraging. This observation is particularly pronounced at Ouaisne and makes it all the more important to identify and mitigate against threats to the sites from surrounding development, pollution, changing land use and infection.  A significant development this year was the discovery of a single spawn clump at Woodbine Corner. Often cited as a potential breeding site by virtue of it’s connectivity to Ouaisne, there have been difficulties in the past with providing suitable habitat and ensuring appropriate water quality. Both issues are being addressed and head-started adults have been released on site over the last few seasons.

These management activities continue on all sites targeting both species specific objectives (not just the agile frog) and habitat condition objectives. This may well be the catalyst for increasing distribution of the agile frog on sites. The ongoing objective is now to expand the range to other satellite sites and look to establishing (if possible) some degree of connectivity between them. As discussed earlier Woodbine Corner has been identified as a potential long-term site. In addition a pond constructed in 2009 at Les Creux is also a potential site. Regular water testing and management works are already in progress and with amphibians present on both sites (including agile frogs at Woodbine Corner) these areas will remain a focus of the Program.

 


Toadwatch 2011 - we need your help!

Posted on Tuesday 22nd February, 2011

Members of Jersey’s Toadwatch Campaign are making their annual call for the public to be vigilant as the breeding season for the Island’s not-so common toad Bufo bufo begins.

Over the next few months, the Toadwatch Campaign is once again asking members of the public to send in records and reports of toad, tadpole and toad spawn sightings in and around their gardens and ponds.

Importantly, the campaign is also aiming to identify those ponds that no longer contain any signs of toads. By studying ponds over a period of time, vital information can be gained on the distribution and movement of amphibians in Jersey.

The States of Jersey Environment Department, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Jersey Amphibian & Reptile Group (JARG) have collaborated for a number of years towards the conservation of Jersey’s only toad. The Toadwatch Campaign has been running for the past six years and Islanders’ records have helped build an accurate picture of where the toads are breeding.

The ‘Toads on Roads’ Campaign will also be running again this year. Last year well over 100 toads were saved from the busy roads at two Island sites, one in St Ouen and the other in Grands Vaux. This year it is hoped to broaden the scope of the teams’ efforts to cover more wet and mild nights and to man additional crossing black spots. Toads on Roads is essentially a road-crossing patrol or ‘lollipop men/women’ service for toads! One of the biggest concerns for the group is the loss of so many toads on island roads, many of them females, as they migrate to their breeding ponds. Simply by helping them across the most dangerous black spots, the Toads on Roads Campaign could potentially save hundreds of breeding adults.

As toad breeding season is well under way, anyone interested in volunteering for night-time lollipop duty is being asked to contact Toadwatch as soon as possible on 860053 . Islanders who live near lanes which are used by toads are also being asked to speak to Transport and Technical Services Department for permission to erect warning signs making road users aware of the toads.

Any information about toad sightings, ponds with toads or ponds that were previously used as spawning sites but have now become dormant, can be sent to toadwatch@durrell.org or left as a detailed message on the Toadwatch line 860053


JARG 'toad day'

Posted on Wednesday 16th February, 2011

The Jersey Amphibian & Reptile Group (JARG) is running a local event on Amphibian and Reptile recording. The day is being held at Durrell’s international training centre on Saturday 19th February 2010 from 9:45 am to 4:00 pm.

The event includes talks, workshops for existing volunteer recorders and for individuals who would like to take part to learn about local amphibian and reptile identification, pond assessments and survey methods and protocols. If you would like to join us then please contact Nina Cornish Telephone: 441624 or email (n.cornish@gov.je) for more details or to book a place.

 
AGENDA
0945 -1015 Arrive (tea/coffee)

 1015 -1030     John Wilkinson, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, “The Wonderful World of Toads”.

 1030 - 1100     Wendy Van Neste, ToadWatch coordinator JARG,  “ToadWatch     Update and Toads on the Road Campaign”.

 1100 - 1115  Alcindo Pinto, 'Little Green Man', “Building Ponds for Wildlife with     Toads in Mind”. 

 1115 - 1145 Andrew Arnell, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation “Modelling Toad   Distribution”.

 1145 - 1200 Lindsey Napton, States of Jersey, “Law Review and its Relevance to Jersey Amphibians and Reptiles”.

 1200 - 1300   Lunch

 1300 –1330 Nina Cornish, States of Jersey, “Jersey National Amphibian and Reptile Recording  Scheme (NARRS) Update”.

Workshops

Training in amphibian and reptile  identification, habitat assessment, survey methods, survey protocols, recording, health & safety will be provided

1330 - 1430 Amphibian Surveying

1430 -  1530 Reptile Surveying

1530 - 1600 Close Any other business

 


Events

Events

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Pondwatch JE

Pondwatch JE

What is Pondwatch JE?

Jersey has three native amphibian species, and a host of other wildlife for which ponds are a vital habitat. Pondwatch JE is a new project that aims to gather sightings of Jersey’s pond life to help assess their conservation status, distribution and habitat requirements. Pondwatch JE is the successor to both the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS) which ran in Jersey from 2007 to 2018 and Toadwatch which ran from 2005 to 2018. During this time volunteers provided a great deal of information which has been used to inform the design of Pondwatch JE as well as influence efforts to protect the species.

Pondwatch JE was launched at the 2019 Wild about Jersey event, you can review the presentation here: pdfPondwatch JE training presentation

 

How can you help?

There are opportunities for everyone to get involved, with 3 levels of surveys depending on your interest, available time and experience.

All surveys take place between January and May.

 

Level 1 – spend 30 minutes looking for wildlife in ponds and send us your results. No experience or training is required.

pdfPondwatch JE level 1 handbook

pdfLevel1 Pondwatch JE survey form 

 

Level 2 – carry out 5 surveys, each taking 30 to 60 minutes. You will search for amphibians and other pondlife at a pond using three methods; visual searches, netting and night time torch surveys. You do not need experience but you will need to attend a training event.

pdfPondwatch JE level 2 handbook

pdfPondwatch JE Level 2 survey form

pdfGrassland classifications guide is a summary of the key grassland habitats you may find in your survey area.

This guide is adapted from the UK Habitat Classification (UK Habitat Classification Working Group, 2018)

 

Level 3 – you will carry out multiple intensive surveys at known and suspected agile frog sites. You will also contribute to testing Jersey’s amphibians for diseases. This is for experienced surveyors only.

 

All Pondwatch JE surveys take place between January and May.

 

Water quality tests – you can help us assess the level of pollution in Jersey’s ponds using quick and simple test kits.

pdfPondwatch JE Water quality handbook

pdfPondwatch JE water quality form

 

Even if you don't have the time to commit to one of these surveys, you can still join in by recording any sighting you have and submit these as a casual record.

 

Getting started

Before starting your survey you will need to complete a volunteer working agreement and have written consent from the landowner.

pdfVolunteer Working Agreement

pdfLandowner Agreement.

 

Following the instructions in the appropriate level handbook, visit the site and modify the generic risk assessment as required for any risks associated with the site.

docGeneric Risk Assessment Template (ARG UK)

  

ID guides

A number of identification guides and information sources are available for you to download:

A guide to the identification of Jersey amphibians - pdfAmphibians of Jersey ID guide

A guide to the identification of Dragonfly and Damselfly - pdfDragonfly and damselfly ID guide

A summary of invasive non-native plants and a free e-learning course are available via the links below.

Invasive Non-Native aquatic plant species ID guides

Invasive Non-Native Species free e-learning course

For help with habitat classifications the UK Habitat Classification guidance is available from the ecountability.co.uk website.

 

 

 

Additional resources

docxPondwatch JE Introduction

pdfPondwatch JE training presentation

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reptilewatch JE

Reptilewatch JE

What is Reptilewatch JE?

Jersey has four native reptile species, some of which are rarely seen and are limited to certain habitats. Reptilewatch JE is a new project that aims to gather sightings of Jersey’s four native reptile species to help assess their conservation status, distribution and habitat requirements. Reptilewatch JE is the successor to the widespread reptile surveys undertaken as part of the National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme (NARRS) which ran in Jersey from 2007 to 2018. During this time volunteers provided a great deal of information which has been used to inform the design of Reptilewatch JE as well as influence efforts to protect the species.

How can you help?

There are opportunities for everyone to get involved, with 3 levels of surveys depending on your interest, available time and experience.

 

Level 1 – spend 30 minutes looking for reptiles and send us your results. No experience or training is required.

pdfReptilewatch JE level 1 survey form

pdfReptilewatch JE level 1 handbook

 

Level 2, option 1 – carry out 6 surveys, each taking 1 to 2 hours. You will search for reptiles along a survey route and check artificial refugia (sheets of roofing material) for reptiles and other species. You will need training at one of our training events but no previous experience is needed.

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 survey form

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 widespread reptiles handbook

 

Level 2, option 2 – carry out 6 surveys, each taking 30 minutes. You will search for wall lizards at known and suspected wall lizard sites. You will need training at one of our training events but no previous experience is needed.

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 wall lizard survey form

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 wall lizard handbook

 

Level 3 – you will carry out multiple intensive surveys at known and suspected grass snake sites. This is for experienced surveyors only.

pdfReptilewatch level 3 handbook

All surveys take place between March and October.

 

If you currently do not have time to commit to carrying out these surveys please record any sighting you have and add a casual record

Getting started

Before starting your survey you will need to complete a volunteer working agreement and have written consent from the landowner.

pdfVolunteer Working Agreement

pdfLandowner Agreement.

Please complete and return the volunteer and landowner agreement forms to the Natural Environment Team before you get started.

 

The next step is to consider the risks associated with your survey and the surrounding area.

Please refer to the docGeneric risk assessment template and modify this as required.

How to survey

A reminder of the 2019 training presentation is provided here: pdfReptilewatch JE training presentation.

For survey guidance, please refer to the relevant handbook for the level of survey you are undertaking.

Additional help on habitat assessment of grassland areas is available here: pdfGrassland classifications

This guide is adapted from the UK Habitat Classification (UK Habitat Classification Working Group, 2018)

 

Reptilewatch JE Handbooks

pdfReptilewatch JE full handbook

pdfReptilewatch JE level 1 handbook

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 widespread reptiles handbook

pdfReptilewatch JE level 2 wall  lizard handbook

 

Reptilewatch JE ID Guides

A series of ID guides are provided to help with identifying the reptiles and other species you might find on your surveys.

pdfReptiles of Jersey ID guide

pdfBeetle ID guide

pdfCockroaches of Jersey ID guide

pdfSmall mammals of Jersey ID

For help with habitat classifications the UK Habitat Classification guidance is available from the ecountability.co.uk website.

 

 

 

Contact us

Contact Us

Contact Kristina Le Feuvre

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming events will be listed here.


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