Saturday, December 12, 2009

Michigan's Seepage Snot Lizard

There is one species of salamander that inhabits Michigan that is quite a bit different from the rest of the bunch. It is a small Plethodontid that is rarely seen outside of its breeding season. Its habitats are usually mucky and include seepages, bogs, and some fens with sphagnum moss. In fact, sphagnum moss is a key habitat indicator for the snot lizard in question; the Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum).

Seepage in Clare County, MI

Seepage in Oakland County, Michigan

Tamarack Bog in Montalm County, MI

All three of these sites are home to considerable populations of Four-toed Salamanders. This species typically breeds from April through May, and females lay eggs in mats of spagnum moss that hang over water or near water. Females can be found brooding their eggs for several weeks in the spring and are one of a few salamander species that exhibit this behavior. During other times of the year, Four-toed Salamanders can be found under logs and leaf litter in or around these seepage habitats.

Four-toed Salamanders - Hemidactylium scutatum

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