Monday, February 12, 2007

Spring Will Be Here Soon

In April 2003 I experienced one of the great wonders of nature. During the first warm spring rain, spotted salamanders leave their subterranean homes, move overland, and congregate in masses in temporary woodland pools. Here, the males leave sperm packets on submerged leaves and other detritus, and the females follow, absorb the sperm packets through their cloaca, and use them to fertilize their eggs. We saw hundreds of spotted salamanders that evening. When we arrived at the woodland pond, near Indian Creek in Butler County, it wasn't raining, and there were no salamanders. After about an hour, a gentle rain began falling, and we started seeing salamanders amongst the leaves on the forest floor. At first one or two, then 10 then 100...and then it seemed like we saw at least 1000 of these guys that night. They are extremely cool.

From Herps

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