Friday, April 25, 2014

Hello Amphibians

What's under this rock? 

 Not one, not two, but three Red-backed Salamanders!  Red-backed salamanders are the most common type of salamander found in our woods.  Actually, it's the only kind I've found so far, but there are four or five other species found in our area.  Red-backed salamanders come in two color morphs; redbacked and leadbacked, and both colors were under the rock.  When I look at the picture below, I was surprised at how much the red stripe looks like a root.  It seems like pretty good camouflage after all.  They are food for lots of animals so the red is not a true warning color.  

 Well, guess what the three salamanders were doing? 

Guarding eggs!  These salamanders don't lay their eggs in water, or have a larva stage.  Instead, tiny salamanders hatch ready for life on land.  

A red morph with eggs near her tail.

A Leadback with a large cluster of eggs.
Some of the eggs look a little dried out, too bad!

We are enjoying hearing frog calls from a pool on our neighbor's property.  We've heard Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers.  I also spotted some egg clusters in the pond.  The eggs survived some cool icy nights last week in deeper waters.  I found a Peeper last fall, but haven't been that lucky this spring.  Peepers are only a few inches long and have great camouflage.  I hope to find more amphibians as the spring continues.

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I found this exceptionally orange Wood Frog among the leaves as I was raking the garden. 

Jacob getting just the right photo of the orange frog.