Even though there are over 25 species of salamanders native to Ohio, and we should be able to find them under practically every rock, rotting log and leaf pile, we frequently don’t in much of Northwest Ohio. And that’s why we’re so excited that Quarry Farm friend, volunteer and advisor Alaina Brinkman Siefker shared this photo today. She captured this little guy’s image in the Quarry Farm north floodplain, aka “Coburn’s Bottom”, this past Sunday. This animal looks to be a Jefferson or Blue-spotted salamander, or a hybridization of those two species.
Salamanders, frogs and other amphibians usually require both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. They are born in water, develop and move onto land. Talk about your primordial creature. Much of their natural habitat has been destroyed. Not just around here, but all over the world. And if that habitat hasn’t been wiped away, it has been disturbed or chemically altered. Top that off with an impaired atmosphere and you get severely declining amphibian populations.
Researchers consider amphibian populations an indicator of overall environmental health. The salamander that Alaina and her family saw this weekend tells us that we are doing something right around here. Next spring, look for announcements for the First Annual Quarry Farm Salamander Count.
For more about Ohio’s salamander populations and monitoring program, visit http://www.ohioamphibians.com/salamanders/Salamanders.html.