First spotted salamander of 2014 at Windhover Pond

With the wet and warmer weather yesterday, I headed back out to some of our previous study sites in the Cuyahoga Valley to see if anything was moving. After seeing that most of the sites were frozen over, I wasn’t expecting to see much. But, as I visited a set of small vernal pools, I was surprised to find several Jefferson salamander egg masses beneath the ice! I also saw an adult Jeff swim for cover under some leaves. Females lay eggs a few days after breeding, so this means the Jeffs probably began breeding during the night I posted that the wood frogs and peepers were on the move. I haven’t seen or heard any sign that the frogs have actually been breeding, so as far as I know the Jeffs were the ones to officially kick off the 2014 amphibian breeding season in our area. While leaving this site, I checked another vernal pool and immediately saw a familiar figure for the first time this year.. a spotted salamander waiting for prospective mates!

Jeff eggs
Jefferson salamander egg mass
 

Knowing things were slowly starting in the Valley, I ran the fence at Windhover today and found that we captured one spring peeper, one wood frog, one red-spotted newt, and…a single male spotted salamander! Steiner Woods is still pretty well frozen, so these guys probably trekked over ice and snow to get there!

first 2014 sallie
First spotted salamander of 2014 enters a very icy Windhover Pond
 

Looks like our guy will remain lonely until things warm back up and get wet again near the end of next week (Thurs/Fri?). The first walk should be around that time.

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About Scott Thomas

I'm a graduate student seeking to contribute to our understanding of how ecology, evolution, and their interplay contribute to the abundance and distribution of animal populations. Since 2011, I have been a part of the Niewiarowski Lab, where I help run a long-term demographic study of an Ohio breeding population of spotted salamanders.
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One Response to First spotted salamander of 2014 at Windhover Pond

  1. scelop says:

    Thanks scott, nice picture crazy weather!

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