Yellow Spotted Salamander Migration 2006
Monday March 13
Every spring, on the first warm, moist night of March, Yellow Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) which can reach about 8 inches in length start emerging from the soil in the CIW woods. Mysteriously they know the time and direction to move. They cross the connector road to migrate to the water of the ditch, pond, and vernal pools of the Nature Preserve. After dropping down into the road, the poor little guys then become trapped in the road being unable to scale the curb. However, they have been given assistance by the BU Physical Facilities (thanks, PF). PF has graciously provided ramps for the salamanders to climb out of the road and the road is kept closed to traffic until the migration is over.
In the water, males lay down little white packets called spermatophores along patches of aquatic vegetation. Then the males court females, trying to entice the females to pick up their spermatophores. Within days, the females lay bunches of eggs in 'egg masses' which may be clear or milky in appearance.
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunate for the salamanders) while the students were away for spring break, the Yellow Spotted Salamanders commenced their annual spring migration. However, with the sudden onset of cold weather just after they crossed, perhaps there will be a second wave on the next warm rainy night. There is still evidence in the form of the spermatophores to be seen in the waterways. Soon, there will be egg masses. Below are some pictures from this year's migration by Dylan Horvath and Becky Urban.
Some other denizens of that dark night..
Spring Peeper Green Frog