Friday, February 5, 2010

Salamander Eggs

My theory that salamanders migrated to the pond during the January 24 rain was apparently correct. Some of the ice finally melted from the pond yesterday and I was able to see a couple of dozen masses of salamander eggs. Now the race is on to see if these eggs can produce youngsters that will mature quickly enough to survive the pond drying up next June.

These eggs are most likely from the Jefferson’s Salamander. They are usually the first to appear in the pond each year. The adults have been known to stay in the pond for as long as two months before heading back to their subterranean homes. Since we haven’t had a rain since the one that brought out the salamanders, I’m sure they’re still in the pond. I should be able to see some once the ice completely clears away.

Unfertilized eggs almost immediately turn white from fungal attack. It looks like there were only a few bad eggs in these bunches. There are still plenty of things that can go wrong with the eggs before hatching. In some years the majority of the eggs hatch and in other years they all die.

It’s kind of difficult to get close to the edge of the pond. This is a pretty thick sheet of ice that will slide you into the water before you even realize you’re slipping.

Most of the pond is still ice covered and will probably grow more ice this weekend. Normally, the majority of eggs are deposited in the deeper water near the center of the pond and very few are near the edge. Since I’m seeing so many egg masses near the edge of the pond, it either means that the salamanders have changed their egg laying strategy or I’m going to see more eggs in the center than I’ve ever seen before.


  1. Hooray! What a great sign that Spring will come again.

  2. Jain - That's what I like about February. There are always signs that Spring is not far away. Judging by the weather forecast, it looks like it's not going to be very spring-like for the next few days.

  3. I've never seen salamander eggs before! Interesting. And I agree with Jain!!

  4. ...I hope it's more than you've ever seen before! Very cool...I will enjoy watching their progress.