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Planet Vernal Pools and the Salamanders who love them

Meet some of the salamanders that utilize central Ohio vernal pools
by

David R Celebrezze

on 27 December 2015

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Transcript of Planet Vernal Pools and the Salamanders who love them

*7 inches
*looks like smallmouthed, but larger head
*Breed in January-February
*breeding runs are over a period of time-not all in a night or two
*average eggs in a mass is 22
*4 to 6 weeks before they hatch
photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
of central Ohio!!
Planet Vernal Pools and the Salamanders who love them
Smallmouth salamander
*6.25 inches
*most tolerant of habitat disturbances
*breed in shallower pools
*live within50 to 100 meters of breeding pools
*runs in February
The State Amphibian!!
*Spotted salamander up to 8 inches long
*mass migration March and April
*two parallel lines of spots; like fingerprint
*one of the top predators in a vernal pool
*avians are not a friend
*most go back to the natal pool
* live up to 12 years
Jefferson Salamander
Tiger Salamander
*Giants of the pool-10 inches!
*deep pools (2.5 to 3 feet)
*ambush predators
*furthest migration-250 meters
*needs mature forest
*Feb. and Mar. are breeding months
*hatch after 30-40 days
*grow quick!
*up to 6 inches at metamorphose
Four-toed Salamander
*3.5 inches-smallest salamander in Ohio
*four-toes on the back (all others have 5)
*scientific name: Hemidactylium scutatum
pattern on back looks like shields
*tail easily dropped
*dependent on undisturbed vernal pools and swamp forests
*species of conern in Ohio
Red-spotted Newt
*poisonous
*5 inches
*can live in permanent ponds
*three phases:larval, immature, and adult
Marbled Salamander
C of C:4
Commonalities
*breed in vernal pools
*males arrive first and lay down spermatophores (**marbled salamander the exception)
*most breed in spring time (except marbled)
*most eat worms, aquatic bugs, larger invertebrates as the salamander gets larger
*air-breathing-have longs although they can conduct gas exchange and absorb water through their skin
*most of the year under logs or in deep burrows
*survive winter by burrowing below the freeze line
**Egg masses are laid in clusters on twigs and the like.
**masses 2 to 15 eggs
*hatch in 3 to 6 weeks depending on temperature of pool (colder temps mean longer gestation
*2 to 3months larval period
*sexual maturity in approx. 2 years
A feast to eat:

*spiders
*worms
*centipedes
*small insects
*egg masses form symbiotic algae
single-celled green algae called Oophila amblystomatis
*first back-boned animal to do this


"The embryos release waste material, which the algae feed on. In turn the algae photosynthesise and release oxygen, which the embryos take in. Embryos that have more algae are more likely to survive and develop faster than embryos with few or none."
There's more!
2011- close examination of the eggs revealed that some of the algae were living within the embryos themselves, and in some cases were actually inside embryonic cells.

That suggested the embryos weren't just taking oxygen from the algae: they might be taking glucose too. In other words, the algae were acting as internal power stations, generating fuel for the salamanders.
C of C: 8
Extended stay:

IF water levels remain high for a while the larva will take its time developing (will be bigger when it leaves the pool-size matters).
C of C: 6
C of C: 8
*4.5 inches-smallest ambystoma in OH
*"marbled" look
*stocky build
*breed in fall!
*individual nests (but can be found in communals)
*eggs placed about midway on the slope of a pool
*female will brood them-keep fungus away and turn the eggs
*larvae develop in about two weeks and remain in egg until they are submerged in water-then emerge in two days
*will eat other salamanders-including their own
C of C: 9
C of C:10
breed in spring and fall
*sphagnum moss a favorite
*female broods the clutch for several weeks
*eggs laid where they can wiggle and drop into the water
*adults can't swim
*metamorph in 4 to 6 weeks
sexual maturity in two years
C of C: 6
photo: Mick Micaccion
photo: ODNR
photo: Nina Harfmann
photo: Mick Micaccion
photo: Alan Tomko
photo: Nina Harfmann
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