Amphibian Cover Board Experiment Monthly Check -- September 2012

Amphibian cover boards were checked Friday, September 7th and revealed some great finds. First off, there were a total of twenty-nine Red-backed Salamanders and seven Red Efts found underneath the cover boards. Also uncovered was one Spotted Salamander. Spotted Salamanders do not usually reside under the cover boards but are often found near vernal pools and in crevices of rock walls and tunnels. Most importantly, there were two Blue-spotted x Jefferson Salamanders at two different sites. Based on the small size of these two salamanders, we assumed that they had just metamorphosed into the terrestrial adult stage, which takes place by September.  

Blue-spotted x Jefferson hybrid Salamander

The conditions for checking cover boards Friday were ideal due to the heavy rain at the beginning of the week. The warm, humid weather, also contributed in creating moist soil conditions that are favorable for amphibians. Since fall is around the corner we can expect drier, cooler conditions, but we can still anticipate to see some salamanders under the cover boards. During the winter months when temperatures reach close to freezing, (32-41° F) salamanders will go into hibernation on land and burrow under logs, rocks, and loose soil in order to maintain a stable body temperature. During this time the salamander’s metabolism is greatly reduced, thus decreasing the amount of calories burned to successfully make it through the winter. By early spring, rain and warmer temperatures wake the salamanders just in time for the breeding season.

Spotted Salamander
Juvenile Red-backed Salamander

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