This is the first adult of the species I’ve seen at the creek for almost ten years. I always enjoy finding salamanders. It’s a double treat when the species I discover is a rarity.
This particular species attaches its eggs to the underside of submerged
flat rocks in moving water. Fortunately,
the creek has an abundance of flat rocks.
This particular rock protected a clutch of eggs two years ago. Since then it has moved with the flood water
about 20 feet downstream.
If a flood begins to scoot this rock along,
the eggs will most likely be lost. The
fact that I’ve again found eggs here must indicate that there is something
about this rock that beckons the breeding salamander.
The pool below these flat rocks fills with salamander larvae each
year. These rocks are large enough to
accommodate multiple females.
Its natural tendency when placed in the open
is to burrow or get beneath something.
The rock offers no ingress, but if a crack or hole were encountered, the
head would go in and the body would quickly follow.
This species spends most of its life in underground burrows and comes to
the surface only at breeding time. Most
of the breeding time is spent in the creek, so being able to match the
substrate in that location is a valuable asset.
The number of costal grooves is sometimes
used to distinguish species, such as the Streamside and the nearly identical
Smallmouth Salamander. Unfortunately,
that’s not a guaranteed method of identification, so I’m just relying on the
fact that this guy was in a stream and am calling it a Streamside.
The tail is used as a fat storage area, so a
big tail indicates a healthy salamander that is feeding well and has an
excellent chance to survive the lean times.
This tail was so large that it made the animal appear out of
proportion. I hope the rest of the
population is doing as well.
Color and Aroma of Spring
3 hours ago