Sunday, March 16, 2008

Salamanders near Shellpot Creek with video

Preparing to move a granite paver that the previous owners had left in the middle of the backyard we encountered many salamanders under it. I grabbed my camera to record them and then we carefully placed the paver back in place, taking care not to crush the salamanders underneath.

This closeup allowed me to identify this as an Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus). This salamander is the most common on the Delmarva peninsula and the description of its habitat, forests floors under rocks and logs and can be observed in every month of the year. I usually don't turn over rocks because I don't want to disturb the animals that use them as shelter. Today was a fluke because we had had enough rain over the last few weeks to clearly demonstrate there was a paver where we had thought there was just dirt, so we were going to move it to a more useful spot when we found wildlife.

There were many salamanders under the paver, this picture shows a red-backed morph and a lead-backed morph (darker one). For identification I used my trusty Amphibians and Reptiles of Delmarva by James F. White, Jr. and Amy Wendt White. (at Amazon also) I highly recommend it if you live in the area (more even for identifying snakes).

Here is a video of the red-backed morph scrambling under the lead-backed morph, who seems non-plussed.

This video shows the just red-backed morph looking for shelter again.

Post your salamander finding stories in the comments.

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