Slithering Salamanders Usher in Spring Congress

Yellow Spotted Salamander

Tuesday night, March 12th, brought torrential rain, southerly winds and rising temperatures to Southeast Massachusetts.  Perfect conditions to kick off the annual spring congress of yellow spotted salamanders.  As we watched storm clouds roll in and the sky darken, we decided to check local hotspots after dark for our slithering friends.

Yellow Spotted Salamander Heading to Congress

As we bounced down backroads to the wetlands and carefully negotiated flooded puddles, we observed wood frogs and American toads hopping across the asphalt. 

Rocky Road to Congress

Deeper into the woods, our headlights captured the first yellow spotted salamander  slithering across the dirt roadway.

Congress Aftermath with Salamander Spermataphores

In this abandoned cranberry bog, male salamanders congress in shallow channels and deposit spermataphores along the reeds and leaf matter.  We returned to the bog this morning to check for congress locations in the daylight, which were easy to identify from spermatphore deposits.

Closeup of Salamander Spermataphores

Females have yet to deposit egg sacs.

Salamander Spermataphore (Closeup)

We will check these locations again this evening and through the weekend to follow the rest of the process.

Yellow Spotted Salamander Spermataphore

Turtle Journal photo-documented a spermataphore.  The image above shows one of the spermataphore deposits with a dime backdrop for perspective.  Clicking on the image will double its size.

Yellow Spotted Salamander Up Close and Personal

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