[Tweeters] off-topic amphibian question

vogelfreund at comcast.net vogelfreund at comcast.net
Wed Mar 16 01:36:57 PDT 2011

March 16th '11

Well, it's about time for my little two cents worth. I got a BA degree, partly on the old GI Bill, after I retired from the army; up here in Bellingham (that's why I'm still here). Anyway, I was in a Biology class back in the 1990's or late '80s. We were on a short distance field trip to our local Lake Padden Park; off trail over the ridge. Along with two Ruffed Grouse, we students discovered a small salamander in the leaf litter on the side of the slope. I took a snapshot of it in someone's hand, but it is a bit far away. After eliminating other species, I came up later with it tentatively being a Northwestern Salamander. The closest open water was a (temporary rain?) puddle at the bottom of the slope.

Phil Hotlen
Bellingham, WA
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kelly McAllister" <mcallisters4 at comcast.net>
To: "Gary Bletsch" <garybletsch at yahoo.com>, "tweeters tweeters" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 5:53:07 AM
Subject: RE: [Tweeters] off-topic amphibian question

Northwestern Salamanders breed in mostly permanent waters (their larvae require over a year to metamorphose) at this time of year. After breeding, they retreat to the uplands and spend a considerable amount of time buried in the duff layer on the forest floor or in rodent burrows/root tracks where it's moist. They are mostly nocturnal in their above-ground activities. Generally, forest and clearcut and a healthy amount of down woody debris makes for a happy home for Northwestern Salamanders. They are doing very well in Washington, one of our five or so most abundant amphibians.

Some remain in the larval form and mature into adults that breed and live a totally aquatic life. But, I don't think those forms are getting to the root cellar.

Kelly McAllister

-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Gary Bletsch
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2011 9:20 PM
To: tweeters tweeters
Subject: [Tweeters] off-topic amphibian question

Dear Tweeters,

The only place where I have ever seen a northwestern salamander is right here at home--in my root cellar, to be precise. That's in Skagit County, near Lyman.

There was one in there today, swimming around in the inch or so of water that has collected down there. I have seen them in the cellar ever since moving to this house in 2002, with maybe two or three observations a year.

What is their normal habitat? Whenver I catch one down there, I pick it up and put it out in a damp pasture or under a cedar where it's shady and wet. It's a good two to three hundred yards from here to any even semi-permanent standing water. Would they wander to my cellar from a freshwater marsh or slough habitat? I picture the beastie tumbling down the wet and mossy steps into the cellar, ending up trapped down there--not that there aren't ample invertebrates for it to feed.

Is this species doing okay in Washington?

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA garybletsch at yahoo.com

Mentre che li occhi per la fronda verde
ficcava ïo sì come far suole
chi dietro a li uccellin sua vita perde, lo più che padre mi dicea: «Figliuole, vienne oramai, ché ’l tempo che n’è imposto più utilmente compartir si vuole».

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