Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Second Salamander Breeding Event

I found some new salamander egg clusters in the pond, so I’m assuming that another species made its migration during one of the recent rains.  I’m guessing the evening of January 26.  It rained through most of that day and night with a total accumulation of just under two inches.  Jefferson and Smallmouth salamanders are the two species I’ve found in the pond, but they don’t always arrive at the same time.  Based on what I’ve witnessed in past years, I would guess these to be Smallmouth eggs.

I’ve had Spotted salamanders breeding in the water garden, but I’ve never seen them in the pond.  They usually do their egg laying in March.  I’ve not noticed any difference in the egg clusters between the three species.

The January 26 rain raised the pond water levels much above normal.  This resulted in some egg masses being attached to the branches of the dogwoods that lean out into the water.  These egg clusters are susceptible to exposure to the air as the water level fluctuates.  Fortunately, most of the salamanders did as I had intended and attached their eggs to the rush stubble that was purposely left in the deepest section of the pond.

Egg clusters may be easy to view when they bob on the surface of the water, but their chances of hatching are very low.  The white spots are eggs gone bad.

The water is about a foot deep here, so I just broke the dogwood stems to reposition the eggs near the pond bottom.  Even if we enter a period of drought, the eggs will hatch long before the water level drops that far.  I’m looking forward to seeing large herds of salamander larvae prowling the pond bottom later on.

No comments:

Post a Comment