Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Northern Dusky Salamander

A Northern Dusky Salamander, Desmognathus fuscus, peeks at your blogger from the chilled waters of a woodland rill. I had the good fortune to encounter several of these extraordinary, if rather bland-looking salamanders the other day.

The northern in this species' name is apropos. It ranges throughout the New England states, and south along the mountains and west into Ohio. While locally common here, its range includes only eastern and southern Ohio.

Quicksand-colored and unadorned, duskies won't blow your socks off with flashy coloration. The same is not true of some of their mates, such as the Mud and Red salamanders, both of which can occur as companion species with the Dusky Salamander. In fact, both of those bright red species are known from the very springhead where I photographed this animal. Just wasn't my day to find them, but I was quite pleased to find the duskies.

Finding any salamander is always a treat. It's a bit like treasure-hunting, and the quick, casual observer will not be rewarded. One must tun rocks and logs, and in many cases wallow in boot-sucking muck. And to do it right, exercise care. You shouldn't behave as a bull in a china shop, but rather turn the objects slowly and with caution, and replace all just as it was.

Here's a challenge for you photographers. The third iteration of the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp (OWLS) will feature a salamander. Submissions will be voted upon by a panel of judges, and the winner's shot will grace this beautiful stamp. Stamp proceeds go to fund habitat acquisition, research on rare species, and educational efforts about natural history. Read more about the stamp HERE.

1 comment:

thatoneoldguy said...

wonderful, thanks for sharing