Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oregon Slender Salamander

On Saturday, I found myself with some extra time on my hands. After taking a look outside, I decided to grab my camera and head out to see if I could stumble onto any salamanders. I felt my chances were pretty good for finding an Ensatina.

I poked around up the Molalla River a little bit before heading out to my parent's place in the foothills northeast of Molalla. To my surprise, I found an Oregon Slender Salamander. I have been trying to find one of these little guys on and off for a couple years and it a was great thrill to find one on my family's property. I was able to get a couple pictures, but the lighting was very poor and I didn't want to handle the little guy too much.

The Oregon Slender Salamander is Oregon's only endemic salamander and can be found primarily on the western side of the cascades over it's 240 km range. They are an old growth associate, but have been found in naturally reproducing stands of 50-80 year old forests. (This is what my parent's place has) There are thought to be less than 200 discrete sites known for this species in the world. This salamander is quite a treasure for us as it exists no where esle on earth. I'm thrilled that I was able to see and photograph such a special animal.

I was up the Molalla River again yesterday and came across a juvenile Oregon Slender Salamander. I was happy to finally find one along the Molalla.

As you can see, these guys are really small on top of being difficult to find. (The adult pictured at the beginning more than covered my hand)

I also came across several Dunn's Salamanders, but they proved to be too fast and elusive to photograph. However, I did manage one shot. I also want to mention that if you do go searching for salamanders that you be sure to replace anything you turn over or look under. The micro-habitats that salamanders depend on can easily be destroyed by careless searching.

1 comment:

Let's go rafting! said...

That is pretty sweet. What did it taste like??? Just jokin'. You and Danielle need to come up to N. Portland and poke around in my backyard, I'm sure you could find all sorts of strange things...