DEEP: 2014 Is the Year of the Salamander

2014 Press Release
March 7, 2014
 
2014 Is the Year of the Salamander
 
DEEP to increase awareness of salamander conservation in Connecticut

 
2014 has been proclaimed the Year of the Salamander by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) to raise awareness for salamander conservation. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Wildlife Division is participating in this effort by shining a spotlight on Connecticut’s 12 native salamander species throughout the year. Other state and federal wildlife agencies, along with several conservation organizations, are also partnering with PARC to foster appreciation and understanding of salamanders.

“We are committed to sharing the wonderful story of the state’s native salamander species as we celebrate the Year of the Salamander,” said Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division.

Lizard or Salamander? Maybe you have found a salamander while raking leaves, or when turning over rocks and logs, or while exploring the woods as a child. Many who come upon a salamander think they have found a lizard. At first glance, salamanders and lizards look alike – small animals with four legs, a tail, and a similar body shape. However, up close, salamanders and lizards are very different. First of all, these two animals live in different habitats. Salamanders prefer cool, moist places, while lizards prefer dry, warmer places. A lizard’s body is covered with tough scales, while a salamander’s body is smooth and slippery. Most salamanders do not have claws on their feet, while lizards do. Although lizards and salamanders look alike, they are not closely related. Lizards are reptiles and are more closely related to snakes and turtles. Salamanders are amphibians, the same as frogs and toads.

Why Are Salamanders Special?
  • All salamanders are carnivores. They eat insects, worms, small animals, and even other salamanders.
  • As opposed to the often noisy frogs and toads, salamanders are completely silent.
  • Salamanders have glands under their skin that produce mucus to keep the skin moist. Other glands make poisons that can be distasteful or harmful to predators.
  • Most salamanders lay eggs in water or in moist places. The eggs are laid in a mass, string, or individually. The larvae that hatch from the eggs look similar to tadpoles. However, tadpoles have large round heads and the gills are not obvious, while larval salamanders have long, narrow heads and visible gills.
The DEEP Wildlife Division and other conservation organizations will be holding salamander events throughout the year, including a Salamander Art Contest for Kids. Stay up-to-date on Year of the Salamander events and activities by regularly visiting the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep/salamanders or the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife Facebook page at www.facebook.com/CTFishandWildlife.

What Is PARC?

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) is an inclusive partnership dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians and their habitats. Membership comes from all walks of life and includes individuals from state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, museums, pet trade industry, nature centers, zoos, energy industry, universities, herpetological organizations, research laboratories, forest industries, and environmental consultants. PARC is habitat focused, and centers on endangered and threatened species and keeping common native species common.
 
 
{Photo of a spotted salamander}
 

Photo credit: Paul J. Fusco, DEEP Wildlife Division

 
One of the surest signs of spring is the mass migration of spotted salamanders.  These underground dwellers emerge from winter dormancy with the season's first warm rains, and then travel to their breeding pools.