Amphibian Cover Board Results

Today the amphibian cover boards were checked for a second time this summer. Interestingly enough the total number of salamanders that were found, 28, was the exact same number as last time the cover boards were checked in the middle of May. Also, like last time, I was only able to encounter the Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) and the Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). However the major difference between this survey and May’s survey was that this time the salamanders discovered were less dispersed over all the grids. The Duck Pond and Pine Island grids, which are very close together in location, held the majority of salamanders, 10 and 11, while the Mott-Van Winkle Area had 4 salamanders, and the Interpretive Trail, Icehouse Marsh, and Butternut Brook, each had 1 salamander, respectively. In May, the total number of salamanders was spread out more evenly among almost all the grids, although Pine Island did have the majority of salamanders. The Duck Pond and Pine Island grids are located in a conifer dominated forest, next to a pond or vernal pool. Therefore we can hypothesize that the Red-backed Salamander and Red-spotted Newt prefer this type of habitat, which stays moist and cool from the conifers and harbors many invertebrates due to its proximity to water. 
Lead phase Red-backed Salamander
Red-backed Salamander

Typical Cover Board Grid
Red-spotted Newt (eft stage)
Over the past week we have added seven more amphibian cover board grids around White Memorial, focusing on the Catlin Woods area. We have also flagged three additional sites around the property to place more cover boards. These new grids will be left undisturbed for several weeks in order for salamanders to become established there. Hopefully by the end of the summer we will be able to survey all of the grids, both new and old, and really discover various amphibians’ ranges and will come across a population of Blue-spotted x Jefferson hybrid Salamanders. 

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