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Spotted Salamanders Emerge From Hibernation

Under the stealth of a rainy night, subterranean-dwelling spotted salamanders migrated to their ancestral breeding pools this week.  Groups, or “congresses,” of males gather, followed by females. Once a female locates a congress of males, she eventually pairs up with one of them. The pair of salamanders then engages in a courtship dance ending with the male depositing a tiny white packet of sperm called a spermatophore on the bottom of the vernal pool. If he has sufficiently stimulated the female, she picks up this packet into her cloaca, or vent, and fertilization takes place. The next morning the only sign that spotted salamanders have been and gone are the unclaimed spermatophores scattered on the leaves that lie on the pool bottom.  

7 responses

  1. Amazing!

    April 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm

  2. Very nice picture and educational caption!

    April 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    • Are you Margaret’s friend? Hope you are very successful in starting a blog in Costa Rica!

      April 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm

  3. Jennifer Peterson

    How do they get into my basement window wells? Burrowing and then coming up?

    May 22, 2012 at 12:10 am

    • Hi Jennifer,
      Either that or if there isn’t too great a lip on the wells, they could fall into them during migration. Good question! Sorry not to have a definitive answer.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

  4. Walt Caffrey

    Found one of these fellows walking across our yard yesterday it was shedding it’s skin and was COLD so i took it home and put it in a large plastic Jar with some pine needles anyone out there know what i need to do to keep it alive ??????…. or should i let it go ???? ……..

    December 3, 2016 at 8:20 am

    • I would let it go, personally. Probably it’s best chance of survival.

      December 4, 2016 at 8:03 am

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