Spotted Salamander Egg Masses

Yellow Spotted Salamander Egg Masses

Since the yellow spotted salamander congress last Tuesday, March 12th, (see Slithering Salamanders Usher in Spring Congress), the weather has turned decidedly frigid here in Southeast Massachusetts, with nightly freezes and a major snow storm.  Despite an icy morning today, we revisited the site of the March 12th congresses at an abandoned cranberry bog  to search for egg masses.  Within a few minutes of searching, we discovered a number of egg masses in the flooded channels of the abandoned bog.

Yellow Spotted Salamander Egg Massess

About half of those egg masses were relatively clear, while the rest were clouded and nearly opaque.  The two masses photographed above were found side-by-side anchored to reeds in a shallow bog channel. 

Mostly Clear Yellow Spotted Salamander Egg Mass

The clear mass shows individual eggs all encased within a protective outer gelatinous layer.  This outer casing distinguishes salamander egg masses from those of frogs that use the same shallow bog channels to deposit their eggs.

Individual Yellow Spotted Salamander Egg within Mass

This extreme closeup of a single salamander egg embedded in the gelatinous outer protective mass illustrates a signature difference for identfication between salamander and frog egg masses.

Clouded Yellow Salamander Egg Mass

The photograph above shows a yellow spotted salamander egg mass with a clouded gelatinous protective layer that obscures the individual eggs within the nearly opaque covering.  Individual eggs can be detected as blurred dark spots scattered within the protective layer.  The Turtle Journal team will continue to monitor development of these egg masses through the spring.  For more information on salamander egg development, see Spotted Salamanders: From Eggs to Larvae.

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