I took Monty for a late afternoon hike. It is finally cold and blustery out. We ambled past my favorite vernal pool. It is covered with a thin film of ice. It occurred to me to check for Marbled Salamander Larvae, as we had the perfect Fall for them to lay eggs. The pools dried out during the Summer, then filled back up with a good rain storm at the end of September.
To my great delight, there were many healthy beautiful larvae on the edge of the vernal pool! Marbled Salamanders are in the mole salamander family, they spend most of their lives living underground.
The females come to the dry vernal pools in the early Fall. They lay their eggs under the leaves and logs, and then protect them until a rain comes and fills the pool back up. They then leave and head back to where they live. The eggs hatch and the larvae develop over the Winter and are quite large by Spring. They will prey on the smaller Spotted Salamander larvae that hatch in the early Spring.
Nature never fails to fill my heart. Just as I think I’m thru seeing amphibians for the year, I find these amazing little creatures. I’m so grateful to out there hiking.