The Waterman and Hill-Traveller's Companion, a Natural Events Almanac
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Cave Salamanders, genus Eurycea
Photo by Jim Jung. All rights reserved.

Brook Salamanders

Eurycea spp

In mid August as the nights begin to cool and fogs begin blanketing the land the larval Brook Salamanders begin leaving their stream haunts and venture onto dry land. Well, not dry exactly, since they favor moist environments to ensure that their skin remains moist. Brook Salamanders are a large family of lungless salamanders and considered to be the most advanced group of salamanders anywhere. Lacking lungs they rely upon their moist skins for oxygen exchange which explains their attraction to damp places.

The Brook Salamanders in our area - the Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga), the Long-Tailed Salamander (E. longicauda longicauda), the Two-Lined Salamander (E. bislineata) and the Dark-Sided Salamander (E. longicauda melanopleura) all transform at roughly the same time. All eat small arthropods - spiders, pill bugs and small insects - and none of these species can be truly said to hibernate since it's possible to encounter them almost anytime of the year on warm, wet nights. When cold weather threatens they just move deeper into the rocky crevices they use for shelter.

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Copyright © 2005 Jim Jung
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