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Fall Salamandering

Ryan and I decided to do some salamandering today due to the cool, wet, fall weather.  We had a choice of either going after Four-toed or Ringed Salamanders.  Since the Four-toed was about an hour and a half away we opted for the much closer Ringed.  Ryan knew of a couple vernal pools in St Charles Co that are known to be used by the salamanders for breeding. We knew that breeding had probably already taken place but we hoped to catch a few late departures.   Shortly after we arrived we soon found a perfect salamander pool.  We could tell the salamanders had at least been there by the spermatophores scattered throughout the pool.  We sorted thru the wet leaves around the edge of the pool and immediately started uncovering eggs.  We were very careful to cover the eggs back up the way we found them so as to not to harm their development.  Just a couple minutes later we uncovered two very large, very beautiful Ringed Salamanders.  After a few photos we returned the salamanders back to the leaves.  Since this was my first encounter with this species I owe a big thanks to Ryan for showing me the pool.

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St Charles Co, MO