Frogs in the desert

With an average annual rainfall of just about 5 inches/year, it's incredible to think that Joshua Tree NP is home to 800+ plant species and that, in about a month, we're expecting to see another incredible wildflower bloom. But more than our flora, the fact that we have two resident amphibian species in this desert park is hard to believe. After working here for a year, I finally spotted our elusive California tree frog (Pseudacris cadaverina) near one of the park's few natural springs. Smaller pools dry up every year at the 49 Palms Oasis, and the frogs are relegated to a tiny patch of water that, we hope, doesn't ever go dry. This is a very small, isolated population of frogs, the only place they've been found in the desert. We don't know how they got here - maybe they're a relictual population from the past. Historically, they've been spotted in other oases in the park, but those have since dried up. In any case, pretty neat.