Tuesday, April 25, 2006

One night during salamander migration

Early spring is a time when salamanders and amphibians wake from winter slumbers and migrate to upland wetlands where they lay their eggs. Once overnight temps get above 38-degrees and soaking rains come, you can expect local salamanders, frogs and toads to be on the move, and for herpetologist Brian Kleinman to be out with them, monitoring how the spring salamander migration is succeeding, and helping many across busy local roads to safety.

During one evening this month, Brian (above) had a night to remember. In a few hours, he watched as hundreds of migrants made their way across wet roads in northwest Connecticut. Equipped with a Handicam, he came back with some remarkable images of the animals he found moving during the first soaking rain of this spring.

An unexpected migrant was this Four-toed Salamander (above), the first Brian has seen in many years spent watching spring salamander migrations at this one spot in northwest Connecticut.

The Jefferson Salamander (above) is found throughout western Connecticut. Hybrid combinations between the Jefferson Salamander and its cousin, the Blue-spotted Salamander, (such as the one below) are also found in this range.

Hybrid Salamanders such as those found in Connecticut have evolved some of the most unique and intriguing reproductive adaptations in the animal kingdom.

The Spotted Salamander (like the one above that Brian taped as he helped it across the road) is one of the largest species found in forested areas, and can begin the breeding season by migrating in large numbers.

Moving along with the salamanders were other amphibians such as the Spring Peeper and Wood Frog. These frogs are able to tolerate partial freezing over the long winter, and in spring are among the first to emerge to lay their eggs. (Visit Dr. Ken Storey's page about freeze tolerant vertebrates.)

Also on the move this night were two rather cold and sluggish amphibians, an American Toad (above) and Green Frog (below).


At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have several large spotted salamanders that reappear every spring in our small well room under our house.

Harwinton CT.


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