This week’s theme seems to be salamanders, perhaps appropriate given that it is early springtime in one of the world’s hotspots for amphibian diversity. (An aside: when will TN sports teams figure this out? Titans, Predators, Kats, Tigers = yawn; Cave Salamanders, Spadefoot Toads, Barking Treefrogs, Mudpuppies = oh yeah, very memorable). I stopped by the Brakefield Rd ephemeral wetland this afternoon with the “Field Investigations in Biology” class. We found larvae of marbled salamanders, an adult mole salamander, and this four-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) guarding her eggs.
This species builds its nests at the edge of ephemeral pools, in sphagnum moss, and along stream banks. Because of its specialized habitat requirements, it is listed as “vulnerable” and “in need of management” in Tennessee.
I did not have my camera on me, so special thanks to Julia Galliher who took those photos with her phone. (iPhones are this week’s subplot on the blog, it seems)