WRITTEN BY: BIANCA PERLA
If you find your flashlight and take a moonlit walk to one of Vashon’s forested ponds or wetlands tonight you might witness the incredible way nature celebrates Valentine’s Day. This may not be your partner’s idea of a typical romantic evening, but it will be interesting! Valentine’s night is smack in the middle of peak salamander mating season on Vashon. Look for wriggling pairs or groups of both northwestern and the less common long-toed salamanders in the dark shallows. Sometimes they can be found amorously clasped together just under the floating leaves at the edges of still waters.
Ambystoma macrodactylum, from Vashon (2006). Notice that one toe is longer than the others on each foot-- hence the name “long-toed salamander”. Photo by: Kathryn True
These two species of native salamander (Ambystoma gracile and A. macrodactylum) are grouped together under the name mole ...read more