Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Still Looking for Salamanders

We had a good rain Sunday night and I’m sure the salamanders headed for the pond, but I failed to see them. Part of the watershed for the pond is the township road and mud from the road leaves the pond water clouded for a couple of days. I did find some amphibian action in the water garden. Things warmed up enough to get this Green Frog up and moving. The recent snow probably caused him to head back under cover.

Green Frog tadpoles take a year to ready themselves for transformation into an adult frog. Trying to hide beneath the leaf is something a little more salamanderish.

This is the Red-Spotted Newt, the terror of the aquatic world. Adult newts are primarily aquatic and will stay in the water year round. They have an insatiable appetite and will eat any animal they can get their mouth around. I’ve seen them eat snails, worms, insects, tadpoles and watched one work its way along a string of toad eggs. I’m constantly removing newts from the water garden, because when they become abundant, there’s nothing else left.

This is a male. The tail of the male in breeding condition develops more of a fin on the top and bottom and the fin ridge continues part way up the back. The hind legs of the male are also much enlarged.

During the mating embrace, the male uses its hind legs grab the female just behind the head. These dark pads on the legs and toes are an aid to gripping the slippery female.

1 comment:

  1. Neat critters, great photos. Who knew they had grippers?!