Monday, April 30, 2007

Eastern Spotted Salamanders

Sunday, 8:35 PM, April 30, 2007

Just as a follow up to my earlier post about the Amphibian Monitoring Program I wanted to show you some pictures of the salamanders I relocated last night. I really wanted to get out again tonight but we have high winds predicted and things are already swirling in good shape. The road I have to take is through Groton State Forest and the chance for downed trees is very good tonight. Cutting trees in the dark is not something I want to learn to do.

This first picture is of two Eastern Spotted Salamanders. The one in the front has a little note attached as I am questioning the blue spots. There are Jefferson and also Blue Spotted salamanders in Vermont and there are hybrids of those two. I wasn't aware that the Eastern (yellow) Spotted hybridized. Alex tells me "no" which means he listened to the lecture better than I did. He cannot, however, tell me how blue spots got on a Eastern (yellow) Spotted Salamander.

These salamanders get to be a foot long. The largest last night was 8.5" That translates to several years old but again I don't remember the exact ratios. I noticed that they don't mind walking all over their friends and fellow salamanders so they do have some human traits too.

When these guys walk, they can cruise right along but nonetheless they are very difficult to spot. When they do stop, they raise their heads but this is only half an inch off the ground so there's not a lot to perceive. If you pick them up and then place them back down they hold in a kind of lame posture with tail curled and head pointed down towards the ground. I was a little apprehensive when I picked up the first one as it turned its head toward my hand and I didn't know what to expect. Probably been around Karl the wonder dog too much. He always bites the hand that feeds him!

One time a reader commented that he enjoyed reading my blog even if I took a circuitous route to get to the garden topic. There's no garden issue with spotted salamanders but the fact is they are part of our environment. If we are good gardeners, we're always thinking about what lives where we garden. Sometimes the absence of certain things such as frogs or the presence of things such as long horn beetles I've never seen before, makes me think about how our environment is changing. Having a new piece of land to work at a new, much lower elevation will encourage us to look at new plant and animal relationships. If you have any questions or comments, let us know.

Karl wants to go out and the way the wind is blowing, I hope this is the last call for tonight.
Gardening wishes from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Wayfarin Strangers plays High On A Mountain ..........where the wind blows free...... and the spring peepers and wood frogs have already called it quits for the night.

George Africa


Anonymous said...

Just so you know, your pictures are of "spotted salamanders", without the "eastern" part. Red efts(small and orangish) are known as eastern spotted newts, though.

kelseyalyse1019 said...

we live in the catskills and my daughter found one just like this the other day.He was probably 8 inches long.We held him a minute and then put him back where he started.What a beauty.