Monday, March 21, 2011

Salamander Tails

In search salamanders, I turned over a log near the creek and found this Southern Two-lined Salamander. I was actually hoping to find a Streamside Salamander using the log as a temporary sanctuary before heading back to its woodland home, but a salamander of any species is always exciting.

Southern Two-lined Salamanders are very common, but I normally find them beneath rocks and debris in the creek channel itself. This log was newly fallen, as evidenced by the fresh leaves it was covering and it was located about 50 feet from the creek bank.

The interesting thing about this salamander was the shortness of the tail. This salamander lost a portion of its tail and the tail is in the process of regenerating. The new growth takes a while to recover the original pigmentation and pattern, so it usually appears gray or bleached and looks to me like its outer skin has been removed.

If the salamander lives long enough, the tail will completely regrow and be almost indistinguishable from the original.

The strangest part of the encounter was finding a second salamander a few feet away that had also lost its tail. This looked to be a more recent loss as the tail had just begun to regrow. Maybe there’s a predator in the woods that is targeting salamander tails.


  1. Salamander tails might be easier to find at Blue Jay Barrens than shark fin to put on the dinner table, hmmm?

  2. Fascinating. I'll look for this next time I lift a log near our creek!

  3. Well, Lois, if salamander tail becomes popular, I may have to start a salamader ranch. We'd have an annual round-up and docking of the tails. At the rate they grow, we could only manage one harvest per year.

    Good Luck, Mike. I equate turning a log and finding a salamander to opening an oyster and finding a pearl. Actually, finding a salamander is better.