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Spotted Salamander Larvae Soon To Emerge From Eggs

spotted salamander eggs2  040Roughly a month after spotted salamanders participate in frenzied courtship dances, deposit spermatophores (males) and take the spermatophores into their bodies (females), the resulting eggs have developed into larvae.  These juvenile, gilled salamanders are still contained inside the gelatinous eggs, but the eggs are dissolving fast, and the larvae will soon be swimming free within the vernal pools where the eggs were laid.

Many spotted salamander larvae do not survive this long.  Eastern newts, caddisfly larvae, leeches, fly larvae and even turtles feed on the nutritious eggs.  Meteorological conditions also contribute to the fate of spotted salamander eggs.  Their situation is especially precarious because they develop in vernal pools, which often dry up by summer’s end, thus forcing a rapid metamorphosis for amphibious inhabitants.  Hot temperatures can evaporate the water before metamorphosis is completed, and cool temperatures can slow down their development.  Inevitably some will survive to adulthood, and  the inch-and-a-half to two-inch salamanders (see insert photo), having shed their gills and developed lungs, will adapt to a terrestrial life.

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3 responses

  1. k

    Don’t you want to go out and find as many as you can and keep them alive and healthy? It seems like an awfully tough road for the little guys.

    May 16, 2016 at 8:52 am

  2. Alice Pratt

    The absolute miraculousnous of metamorphosis.

    May 16, 2016 at 3:23 pm

  3. Miracles!

    May 16, 2016 at 10:28 pm

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