Thursday, November 19, 2015

Look What I Found

The other day I turned over a water trough in the pasture and look what I found hiding under the dark wet water tank.

I couldn't decide if it was a red salamander or a mud salamander. It has brown eyes and a short snout so I think it may be the more rare mud salamander. 

The main differences are in their eyes and snouts. While the mud salamander has dark brown eyes and a short snout, the red salamander has bright yellow eyes and a long snout. Also the mud salamander is more rare than the red salamander.  

If you ask me I think they are both amazing little creatures and I am so happy to have seen it!

The problem I'm having with this identification is that he doesn't belong here on our farm. There are no seeps or streams on our property. The mud salamander inhabits swamps in low elevations, bogs, seeps, springs, and streams that not only provide a muddy bottom, but also clean and clear water. The mud salamander, a burrowing species, seeks shelter in burrows beneath leaf litter, logs, stones, or bark. The mud salamander may also build tunnels in creek banks, as well. These amphibians spend most of their lives in close proximity to water, but also burrow into the soil of the surrounding area.

So, I have to think that this little guy is more likely the less rare Pseudotriton ruber. 
Scientific classification
Species:P. ruber
Like other salamanders, the red salamander seems to lose its color as it ages, becoming more darkly pigmented with less obscure patterns.  Another distinguishing characteristic of P. ruber is the appearance of numerous irregular black spots down its back. Although the red salamander is brilliantly colored and has many distinguishing features, it is sometimes difficult to tell species apart. P. ruber is most similar in appearance to the mud salamander (P. montanus), but can be distinguished by the difference in size and number of spots running down the dorsum and also by the difference in the color of the iris. The red salamander has more spots and the spots also tend to be larger in size than those of the mud salamander. In regard to eye color, the red salamander’s iris is a gold-like tint, whereas the mud salamander’s iris is brown. 

Now I wish I had looked closer into its eyes to see if they were gold!  

You just never know what will turn up in a day on the farm.  :)

1 comment:

Joshua said...

That is so cool! I hope he can avoid all the hazards of the farm (i.e. chickens)