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Fragments from Floyd

Too Much of A Good Thing: a Drowned Salamander


We had almost exactly 4 inches of rain from Matthew and related weather cells last week.

I finally got around to emptying the gauge yesterday,  and to my surprise, there at the bottom of the reservoir was this (unfortunately dead) red-backed salamander.

This is a bit of an odd amphibian in that it is not water-adapted at any point in its life cycle, so diving in was an unnatural act.

It took some doing to climb up a few inches to the top and dive into the tank. I’m thinking it was a possible suicide. Or it was pushed in by a competing species.

I exhumed the specimen from the gauge into a pyrex bowl for the post-mortem records, as you see here.

Note the impressively puny legs per body mass, and understand how limited is the ability of these creatures to out-migrate when conditions become critical to their existence. And in so very many places in the southern Appalachians, conditions are critical. Which is why the entire class of Amphibia is in extreme peril of extinction. Soon.

One of our visitors found another less common long-tailed salamander under the bark of a fallen log. If he is able to ID it I’ll ask for a copy of his photo and tell all you salamander fans about it. That would be you, Dennis, and probably only you, but hey.

Red Backed Salamander Directory

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