Monday, January 23, 2017

Salamander Eggs

So far this month we’ve had 5.8 inches of rain, with rain falling more days than not since January 1.  Temperatures have remained above average.  High temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s Fahrenheit have been the norm so far this year.  It’s been a tough year for pinpointing when salamanders began showing up in the pond for their annual breeding frenzy.  All I can say for certain is that the pond was free of salamanders three weeks ago, and now the pond is full of salamander eggs. 

The frequent rains have kept the water level high and visibility slightly clouded, but it’s easy to see the masses of egg clusters clinging to plant stems scattered across the bottom of the pond.

I found this Jefferson Salamander during a break in the rain a couple of nights ago. 

This is the most common pond breeding salamander at Blue Jay Barrens, and the only one here that produces egg masses this early in the year.  In a month or two, Spottted Salamanders will enter the pond and leave their own egg masses.

Attached to the underside of a floating plank were these eggs of the Streamside Salamander.  This species typically places its eggs on the undersides of flat rocks in small headwater streams.  In situations where they utilize temporary pools, the eggs are placed on the undersides of any available surface.  Once it became apparent that Streamside salamanders were breeding in this pond, I adorned the deepest part of the pond with a variety of items suitable for receiving eggs.    I am assuming that these items are now sporting a nice covering of Streamside Salamander eggs. I’ll find out for sure when the water clears enough for me to see though to the pond bottom.

The Streamside Salamander eggs seem to be developing rapidly.  I suspect that warmer water temperatures have increased the rate of egg development.  This may increase the chances of the salamander larvae reaching their land dwelling stage before the pond water disappears for the summer.

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