Do not disturb the salamanders

A sign on a rotting log in a Florida Parish forest read, “Do not disturb.” What was hidden under this insect infected log did not want to be disturbed. What was hiding, was a monogamous pair of salamanders.

amphibians of louisiana

An amphibians of Louisiana poster found in the biology building at Southeastern.

“The easiest way to find a salamander is to roll over an old rotting log. If there’s two salamanders under a log, one is a male and one is a female,” said Dr. Beachy, department head of biological sciences at Southeastern .

“Most species of salamanders that live on the forest floor are monogamous,” Dr.Beachy continued.

If a male were to fool around with another female, he may suffer some battle wounds from his original love when he returns.

“If you separate male from female and place him into a box with another female and then return to the original partner, that female will beat the crap out of him. And before she can even get to him, he assumes a submissive posture. He knows he’s in for it. Many species are territorial, they will establish a territory and exclude any other salamander from entering that territory,” Dr. Beachy continued.

Although, love your neighbor as yourself apparently goes for salamanders as well. Dr. Beachy explained that salamanders have a scent marking and can learn who their neighbors are by these scent markings. Salamanders will not fight their neighbors because they recognize one another by their scents.

Rotting logs are not the only habitat for salamanders in the Florida Parishes.

“The best place to find a lot of salamanders is in a head water stream, ” said Dr. Beachy.

Dr. Beachy goes on to explain why the water that the salamanders live in has to be clean.

“They’re highly sensitive to environmental insults like pesticides and herbicides. Salt water intrusion is also life threatening. As the gulf of mexico starts moving its way into coastal Louisiana and starts eroding all that habitats, that changes what’s available to salamanders,” said Dr. Beachy.

Dr. Beachy explained that the salamanders will then begin going up creeks and streams that are on the northshore due to their hate for salt water.

Whenever one is walking through a forest, they should lift a log or two, they may possibly interrupt a rendezvous.

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