2018-04-25 / Front Page

Salamanders and wildflowers


This slimy salamander is a large woodland salamander that lives under moist rocks and logs in the DePauw Nature Park. (Courtesy Photo) This slimy salamander is a large woodland salamander that lives under moist rocks and logs in the DePauw Nature Park. (Courtesy Photo) Trail update: Spring is for salamanders

Spring is the best time of year to look for woodland salamanders. This time of year, we find salamanders under moist rocks and logs in the forests of the DePauw Nature Park. Sometimes we find six or seven salamanders under one log.

The redback salamander is the most common woodland salamander in the DePauw Nature Park. Some of them are as small as earthworms. But they are easy to identify because they always have four tiny legs. Just like Henry the Nature Park super dog!

Redback salamanders are probably the most abundant vertebrate in the forest. Researchers have estimated that redback salamanders are more abundant than all forest songbirds and mammals combined.

The redback salamander is a type of lungless salamander. Since it does not have any lungs, it breathes through its skin. Its skin surface is thin, moist, and full of blood vessels to facilitate gas exchange.

Unlike other amphibians, the redback salamander does not have an aquatic stage The females lay eggs in moist crevices. The larvae hatch from eggs and develop directly into the adult form with no metamorphosis.

Redback salamanders are territorial. They are carnivorous and eat all kinds of invertebrates, including ants, millipedes, earthworms, and spiders.

Wildflowers are also making an appearance in this warmer weather. We have seen the Trout Lily, Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, Cutleaf Toothwort, and Blue Violet. See what you can find!

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