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Wandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans)
Credit & Copyright: Dr. Bruce G.
Explanation: This week the Earth turns a year older, and what better way to enjoy the tick of time than to get down on your belly and find a tiny seed of new life.
This is a wandering salamander, with the wonderfully appropriate species name vagrans ... although the species tends to inhabit the same sites year after year.
This immature -- recently hatched from an egg -- is barely the size of a U.S. dime, and sports a characteristic gold nose.
The wandering salamander was split out from the clouded salamander (Aneides ferreus) as a separate species based on genetic studies. Like clouded salamanders, wandering salamanders can be found in hollows of down logs, under forest floor woody debris, in piles of bark at the base of trees, and under loose bark on standing trees.
salamanders are found in coastal
northwestern California, USA ... and
also on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. This disjunct
distribution has never been fully explained, although theories include (1) the
Canadian occurrence is a remnant survivor of the last glacial period, or (2)
the species was accidentally introduced onto Vancouver Island with some
shipments of tanoak
bark used for tanning leather, brought in from California. The truth is
Next week's picture: Bug, Bat, Bird, or Bullet?
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Bruce G. Marcot, Tom Bruce
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