The Lizard Log

The Langkilde Lab in Action

Spring has Sprung!

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And what better way to celebrate than with a Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)! I took a quick trek out to a site outside of State College to check on a population of Valley and Ridge salamanders (Plethodon hoffmani) that we’ve been studying for several years. The weather was beautiful, sunny and in pushing 70 degrees. I decided to take a quick look under some rocks in the spring-fed stream that runs through the site, and who did I chance upon but this lady:

G_porphyriticus_PA_blog

A G. porphyriticus streamside in PA. Note the chomped tail.

Spring salamanders are found throughout PA in small spring-fed streams, seeps, and caves, but are generally one of our less observed salamanders. They are probably often active in areas beneath the surface, but they can be nocturnally active at the surface. Spring salamanders are known to prey on lots of other salamander species, as well as being cannibalistic, so maybe that is how this salamander lost a decent chunk out of its tail (visible above). Hopefully lots more herp sightings will be forthcoming now that the warm weather has finally arrived in central PA!

 

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Author: Chris Thawley

Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Rhode Island; ecologist, herper, discslinger

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