Lessons from Travels: Pennsylvania Salamanders

During the five years I lived in south central Pennsylvania, my research focused on wood turtles and eastern box turtles, as I mentioned earlier. But I also was intrigued by the diversity of salamanders in the Appalachians, and had I remained, sooner or later I would have worked with them as well. Here in northeast Illinois our salamander fauna is limited to the mudpuppy, a newt, 3 mole salamanders, and perhaps a couple others, but most of these are rare and some were limited to the wooded wetland areas close to Lake Michigan. On my study area at the Reineman Sanctuary in Pennsylvania, salamanders were diverse (14 species live in that area, though I did not encounter all of them) and some occurred in large numbers. By far the most abundant was the dusky salamander.

Dusky salamanders lived in huge numbers in the little rocky streams.

In fact, the streams were where I found most species. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph many of them. At least 95% of individuals there were the duskies. Occasionally I found others.

Two-lined salamander, another stream species.

There also were salamanders on land. I remember encountering tiger, spotted, and a magnificent marbled salamander, all in the mole salamander group. There also was the red salamander.

Red salamanders never were far from water.

The Appalachians provide more consistent moisture than we have in the northeast Illinois prairie region. The soil is shallower, so the streams are packed with stony refuges, and in the mountains the streams are shorter and their waters purer. These factors all come to mind when considering the difference in salamander diversity of the two regions.

1 Comment

  1. September 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Animal Lovers' Blog.

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