by Carl Strang
Last week the herps (reptiles and amphibians) dominated the natural history news at Mayslake Forest Preserve. The biggest single item was an addition to the preserve species list that I frankly did not expect.
While it is true that tiger salamanders are widespread if not abundant in DuPage County (the Observe Your Preserve website gives 15 or so known locations), I had thought that Mayslake’s agricultural history might have done them all in there, and we had no previous site record.
I was unprepared, I have to admit, but yet again the camera proved to be a valuable research tool.
In my years at Fullersburg Woods I learned that individual differences in spot pattern can be used to distinguish fawns as long as those last. I am hopeful that the same is true for tiger salamanders.
With the continuing improvement in the size and quality of the stream corridor marsh resulting from the hard work of Mayslake’s restoration volunteers, there is the potential for a big population increase in tiger salamanders, to go along with those of western chorus frogs and American toads.