Spring Is Here!
For the last few weeks I have been tromping through a muddy wetland near my house in hopes of catching Spotted Salamanders, Ambystoma maculatum, doing their breeding "dance." The last few days of searching have lead up to this wonderful and successful evening. I have watched as the males slowly made their way down the steep embankments near the temporary pool. Earlier this afternoon I counted no less than 12 males hiding within 10 feet from the waters edge under rotting logs and debris waiting for their opportunities to breed tonight. The conditions were perfect, the salamanders were ready and tonight was the night.
I left my house around 8pm and drove the short mile or so to the wetland and was immediately greeted by 5 glowing pairs of green eyes. It was kind of creepy at first and then I realized that it was a family of Virginia White Tailed Deer. As they gracefully hopped off in the opposite direction I made my way to the waters edge. The pool was alive with clamorous calling from spring peepers and chorus frogs. It was nearly deafening and these tiny frogs were literally calling from everywhere. Every few steps I would see one dart this way or that.
When I made it to the spot I have long suspected to be the perfect breeding site in the vernal pool I saw what I had been obsessing over for months. Spotted salamanders breeding! They were crawling all over the bottom of the marsh. The males deposited spermatophores and the outnumbered females were perusing the various genetic deposits left on the marshy floor. I sat for an hour or so just in awe of these amazing animals and the intricacy of the vernal pool. Every bit of life that teemed within this marshy pool has a role to play and without their individual niches filled this little ecosystem just wouldn't function as it was designed to.
Take a look at this Devotional about Spotted Salamanders click HERE
Check out this video clip from our Volume 3 DVD Spotted Salamanders And The Church