Some fruits of the breeding efforts of Windhover Pond spotted salamanders

I’ve started to see freshly metamorphosed spotted salamanders at Windhover Pond, so all the trouble the adults went through in the spring (from the frigid temperatures to being harrassed by us on the way in) was apparently worth it.

Here’s a picture of a new metamorph. As it grows, the yellow speckles will migrate into the two rows of spots that we’re accustomed to on the adults:


This is a new look for this guy. A picture of the same individual just weeks earlier would have revealed the greener color, tail fin, and external gills of an aquatic larva:



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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8 Responses to Some fruits of the breeding efforts of Windhover Pond spotted salamanders

  1. Liz Erickson says:

    Hi Scott: Great to see the photos! I shall pass them on to Kvyayre. I know that he wiould also like to actually see them. Any chance of that?

    PS To move to reptiles: we are about to take your advice and get a crested gecko (habitat is all set up). Are there any experiments (or at least useful note taking of behavior) that a 10 year old could do with a crested gecko?

    • Scott Thomas says:

      Liz, it’s really quiet, and rather overgrown out there this time of year, and metamorph are sparse, so I don’t expect to do any summer walks. Often there are lots and lots of tree frogs calling all through the summer that warrant walks, but for some reason they are quiet this year.
      Good to hear that Kvyayre is getting a gecko. I don’t know a whole lot about crested geckos. I have a couple of amphibians with sticky feet, and like to offer a lot of climbing and hiding places. It’s especially entertaining to watch them figure out how to get at food with all that habitat structure to work with. Maybe Peter can weigh in with some more interesting ideas.

  2. John says:


    Thanks for sharing the pictures. I am happy to see the class of 2014 is progressing. Will those who reach maturity, return to this pond to reproduce or disperse over the area,and use another pond?

    • Scott Thomas says:

      Good question John. They will likely be some individuals that stay, and some that disperse. There are a few ponds within reach that animals could move to. Spotteds and a lot of other amphibians with similar breeding habits have traditionally been considered to mostly stick around the pond they emerged from. It takes a lot of effort to track individuals from metamorphosis to breeding at multiple ponds, though, so it’s not an assumption that has really been put through the wringer. But, through people putting in that effort, and through genetic studies like some of the work we’ve done, there’s been a realization that there may be a lot more movement than originally thought.

  3. Dominique Cuigniez says:

    how can you find these small creatures in nature?

  4. scelop says:

    metamorphs are cute….you should tell people how rare they can be….how many eggs do you reckon were laid in the pond this spring? How many metamorphs did you find…how many do you think will make it out of the pond?

  5. Shannon F says:

    Will the 2015 season begin anytime soon?

    • scelop says:

      shannon, check back at the main page…look for an update soon from scott. I don’t see rain for a few days and there is still snow on the ground out a windhover.

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