spotted-salamander

Algae invade amphibian egg masses

The establishment of symbiotic systems requires one organism to live in or on a host. For some North American amphibians, these symbionts are algae and they associate with their aquatic egg masses. Researchers have begun to speculate that these smaller organisms initially invade embryonic host tissues and cells and then transfer to the next generation of hosts.

In a previous study, one of the authors of the current study was part of a team that discovered single-celled algae were invading the embryonic cells of their salamander hosts. This was the first report of such an organism in a vertebrate host, and it led the researchers to question why a photosynthetic organism like algae would invade the tissues of an opaque host that will, as yellow spotted salamanders do, spend virtually all of its life underground. They hypothesized that the algae are invading the embryos as part of a system of intergenerational symbiont transfer.

However, it was still very possible, and in fact likely, based upon work done in the 1940s that the algae that invaded egg masses were present in pond water at the time that the egg masses were laid and simply migrated in, thereby becoming acquired environmentally.

The authors of an article published in the current issue of the journal Phycologia investigate the possibility of environmental symbiont acquisition on yellow spotted salamanders and their symbionts, a type of single-celled green algae called Oophila (egg lover) amblystomatis.

Salamander embryos growing inside egg capsules covered with and often infiltrated by Oophila algae.  Image Credit: Roger Hangarter.

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Spotted salamander

Adult spotted salamanders are 15-25 cm in total length, and females tend to be larger than males. Compared to other salamanders, the body is stout with a broadly rounded snout. The sides of the head are often swollen at the back of the jaw. The legs are large and strong with four to five toes.

When they leave their ponds, spotted salamanders are black, dark brown, or dark grey on their backs, and the belly of these salamanders is a pale greyish-blue. The common name comes from two rows of yellow or orange spots which run from the head to the end of the tail. Spotted salamanders with no spots are sometimes found, but are very rare.

Spotted salamanders have poison glands in their skin, mostly on their backs and tails. These glands release a sticky white toxic liquid when the animal is threatened.

When baby spotted salamanders hatch, they have front legs (unlike frog tadpoles), frilly red gills on the sides of their neck, and their bodies are dull green on top and very pale, almost white, underneath. Their tail are green too, and have little dark specks or blotches on them.

Adult spotted salamanders are preyed upon by larger animals, including skunksraccoons, turtles, and snakes, especially garter snakes (genus Thamnophis). Like many other salamanders, adult spotted salamanders have special glands on their back and tail that produce a bad-tasting poison. The bright spotting on these salamanders is a warning to predators of their bad taste and poisonous protection.

Adult spotted salamanders respond to attack by arching the body and sometimes butting with the head or lashing with the tail, probably to expose the predator to as much poison as possible. They sometimes bite, and individuals of all sizes may also make sounds when attacked.

Spotted salamanders can be important to the community of species that live and breed in vernal pools, affecting the abundance and diversity of other species in the pools, especially other amphibians. Gray treefrogs (Hyla chrysoscelis and Hyla versicolor) avoid breeding in ponds with spotted salamanders in them, and depending on the timing and size of the other species present, spotted salamanders may reduce the population of other Ambystoma species in their pools.

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photo sources 1 and 2

OK SO since I literally cannot find whether or not this animal is legal I am going to post this here! Like a week ago two customers came in and were going to give my boss this Spotted Salamander they found under a log. But he saw me freaking out behind them about it and suggested they give him/her to me!

SO I HAVE HER NOW IM ASSUMING SHES A SHE AND LOOK HOW AMAZNG SHE IS

Mike named her Sweet Potato. (aka Yam!)

She’s in a kritter keeper for the moment until I get her outfitted with a 10gal. She’s eating crickets like a champ (I wasn’t sure she was eating at first) and I’ll get worms to chop up ASAP.

UPDATE REGARDING UPDATES: February’s been a bit ROUGH for me to say the least, so comic updates have suffered a bit. Scalie Schoolie will be back March 2nd and will begin updating twice per week on Monday and Wednesday. Death By Misadventure will still update on Fridays, and should update once more before the end of February.

Also here’s an Amber I guess.

If you’d paid attention in science class, maybe you would be getting paid to put tiny hats on dung beetles too. TINY HATS.

The 6 Coolest Survival Traits Designed by Evolution

#3. African Dung Beetles Navigate Using the Milky Way

It turns out that African dung beetles can actually see the dim strip of light that is the Milky Way from the Southern Hemisphere. This is incredible for an animal of this size, or anything without a telescope, for that matter. And the absolute best part? The dung beetles’ galactic navigation abilities were proven by forcing test beetles to don tiny hats that blocked their view of the sky. The beetles then proceeded to roll around aimlessly, never getting anything done or having any clue as to where they were going, but at least thinking they looked pretty damn fly while doing it. You know: Just like every dude who wears a fedora.

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Spotted Salamander clarification post!

transistor-subsidal reblogged your post adrunkenpiratecaptain: lovingyouisred… and added:

NOOO dont release it! dont dont DONT! it’s already been in captivity and in the vicinity of other amphibians!! by…

To clarify some things about the salamander, I will put them all in this post.

  1. I am not located in New York. Goodbetterbetta saw my typo in the tags, which should have read My pets, but instead read Ny pets. I use the my pets tag on all of my companion animals.
  2. I am located in Rhode Island.
  3. The salamanders species has always been known to me, I looked into them in the past because I’ve always wanted to see one in the wild and they are native. She is a Spotted Salamander, and her scientific name is Ambystoma maculatum, which I did not tag her as in the original post because I was on my phone and not 100% sure of the spelling. Before I could remember to go back and edit it the whole thing had “blown up” There are many salamanders with a similar appearance, and many have spots. Thus many share a similar common name. Which is why common names are virtually useless.
  4. A. maculatum are not an endangered species anywhere in the US. They are in fact common.
  5. Because she is a wild caught native amphibian, she is illegal to possess in Rhode Island. I personally called RI Fish and Wildlife. You cannot keep one with a permit. You cannot own a certain amount before needing a permit. You are not allowed to keep any wild caught native reptile or amphibian in RI.
  6. I kept her because the people who gave her to me had her for an unknown amount of time and were not qualified to release her. I have not and will not release her because that would be illegal as well, and I cannot release her without risking the safety of wildlife. An animal in this situation must be released by a wildlife rehabilitator, or someone with a similar power.
  7. I am going to call the RI Wildlife Center and see about getting her to them somehow so she may be released!
  8. Laws regarding the possession/collection/selling/breeding/hunting/liberation of native wildlife vary by state and even city. There are some Federal laws (meaning they effect all states), there are State laws (meaning laws set by the state effecting only that state) and many City laws (laws only effecting that city) that all dictate how a wild animal can be treated. The law can be found very easily by making some phone calls to your local wildlife center.

The amount of people who have come to me and told me 100% false information about her legality is really, really worrisome. Please guys, I know you mean well, but do not tell someone something like this unless you know exactly what you’re talking about. It could mean a person gets in trouble because you didn’t bother to google anything.

I know some of you have retracted your statements, and I thank you for that!