Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spotting Salamanders!

Salamander season has been a bit "spotty" this year.  First it was too cold.  Then it was too dry.  Many of the salamander fans in Ohio were starting to think we would miss out.
Spotted Salamander
 Salamanders have unique life cycles. The adults emerge from the ground on rainy spring nights and head to vernal pools.  These water-holes of the woods are filled with mating frogs and salamanders of all kind.  And the eggs masses left behind- writhing with mini salamanders- are proof of the adult salamander's night time activities.

John Howard- a naturalist outstanding in his field, er, vernal pool.
 Following soon after the salamanders, are the salamander fans:  like John Howard.

 John knows how to impress the women, he shows them salamanders!

 John was kind enough to take six of us out to visit some of his favorite vernal pools yesterday.  The results were excellent.  The other five women in the group got their "life" Spotted Salamanders and  Marbled Salamander larva.

 Debi is admiring the Marbled Salamander larva.  Marbled Salamanders lay their eggs in the vernal pools in the fall, so their young are already developed.  They aggressively feed upon the other salamander's and frog's eggs.  Nature is a tough Mother: it is a salamander-eat-salamander world!

 John even created this hand held viewing cell, two sheets of Plexiglas with a narrow space between, which allows folks a closer look.  Patent pending.

The Marbled Salamander larva swimming between sheets of glass.  Sorry for the bad photo-too much movement-  but you get the idea.

 The salamander paparazzi were having a field day.  Congratulations, Mary Ann and Kathy - you are now in the Salamander Club.
Salamanders make people smile.  Jan gets her first close up view of a Spotted.

And why should we care if people see salamanders?  Because now these ladies want to help us protect salamanders and their natural habitats.  Once people have a close encounter with the inhabitants of vernal pools, they want to spread the good word. We can't protect these marvelous woodland wonders, unless people know about them.

These creatures have evolved little from their beginnings, their design so perfect- they need not evolve.  

Humans should admire their ability to continue as their God intended- perfectly, wondrous creatures.

We live in a better,  richer for their existence.  

No comments:

Post a Comment