No blue spots here

September 15, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I got a call from my youngest grandson Luc, who is now an eighth-grader with a longstanding love of all things amphibian. (He is rather fond of reptiles, too.) A phone message from Luc usually means that he wants me to go frog hunting with him, but this time, the substance of the call was that he'd found some salamanders in the yard and one of them might be a Blue-spotted... did I want to check them out? Ambystoma laterale is quite rare in Connecticut, and I've never seen one in our section of the state. We're a bit south of its native range, but it might be here, so, in short order, I headed the ten miles north to their house... which brought me ten miles closer to Blue-spotted territory. One of the salamanders was, we knew, a Yellow-spotted, our common, large, lung-bearing species, and the other one, it quickly became clear, might have looked blue-ish in low light but it was not A. laterale. Rather, the striking silver and black youngster was a Marbled Salamander, our other lung-bearer, and a critter I've praised as clairvoyant. It courts and lays its eggs in the fall in dry holes that it somehow knows will eventually fill with larvae-nurturing water and become bona fide vernal pools. A Blue-spotted would have been nice, but a Marbled is a welcome gift. We hoped it would take the disturbance in stride and settle back into a safe haven.



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