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BC Press: Little-known salamander (Coeur díAlene )

This is a Press Information page entitled BC Press: Little-known salamander (Coeur díAlene ) within the Press / News Items section of Caudata.org --- CASTLEGAR NEWS (British Columbia) 02 December 08 Little-known salamander (Craig Sandvig and Carolyn Schellenberg are second year Recreation, Fish and Wildlife students at Castlegarís Selkirk ...

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Old 10th December 2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default BC Press: Little-known salamander (Coeur díAlene )

CASTLEGAR NEWS (British Columbia) 02 December 08 Little-known salamander (Craig Sandvig and Carolyn Schellenberg are second year Recreation, Fish and Wildlife students at Castlegarís Selkirk College.)
Deep within a moist underground crevice lies an odd creature, its skin is slimy and dark, with a thick, long orange line down its back to the tip of its tail. Itís eyes are large and stick out like those of a frog. Itís called the Coeur díAlene salamander.
What makes this critter even weirder is that it lacks an organ common to most animals.
Can you guessÖit doesnít have any lungs. The animal we are talking about is an interesting critter, a member of the lungless salamander family.
The Coeur díAlene salamander was discovered in British Columbia about 20 years ago and has been found in the southeastern corner of the province. It spends most of the year, up to seven months, underground in a highly moist environment. The reason for this is that it breathes through its skin and a mucous membrane around its mouth and the skin needs to be moist at all times to work. It is so sensitive to moisture levels and temperature that the salamander will only surface when the weather is damp and above 7į C. Summer nights provides the best climatic conditions; it also helps to obscure them from predators.
The Coeur díAlene salamanderís favored habitats are rocky seepage areas and stream banks splashed by waterfall spray. They will also use fractured rock and fallen logs in which to hide. Tree cover, mostly coniferous, also aids in creating a shaded damp environment.
Because of these specific habitat needs, the Coeur díAlene salamander population is very small, around 10,000 individuals throughout its Canadian range. There are 56 known sites in BC where the salamander can be found, ranging from the US border as far north as Mount Revelstoke National Park. They have also been found along the east side of Kootenay Lake, Creston Valley, and the Moyie River.
The Coeur díAlene salamander faces many threats against itsípreferred habitats. One of those is logging and the roads created for the job. The removal of trees close to salamander habitat decreases the forest cover and the shaded area it created. The ground temperature increases and so does the evaporation of soil moisture, making it harder for salamanders to find adequate habitat to live. The blasting of rock for road creation increases the silt in the streams along with other debris from road creation. Logging practices may also divert stream courses.
Another threat to the Coeur díAlene salamander and to amphibians worldwide is the effects of climate change. Because the salamander has such specific habitat requirements concerning humidity and temperature, any slight change in these can have a detrimental effect on them. We are seeing this with the global decline of amphibians as their microclimates are changing in a drastic way with rising temperatures.
The Coeur díAlene salamander is currently protected by the B.C. Wildlife Act. This means that we cannot legally kill, collect, or hold these salamanders in captivity without a permit. They are also red-listed in B.C. and the Species At Risk Act was used to list them federally. Over half of the 56 sites where this salamander has been found are designated as Wildlife Habitat Areas and are subsequently protected. Itís good to see that some steps are being taken to protect this oddly wonderful little creature.
So what can we do to help protect the Coeur díAlene salamander? One of the best things to do is create awareness of its existence through public educational programs. Itís probably not a good idea to go looking for them because they like to hide under rocks and fallen logs and could be easily crushed by the searching process. If you do see one or think you know a local area with good habitat you should contact the Conservation Data Centre in Victoria.
http://www.bclocalnews.com/kootenay_.../35433169.html



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Old 10th December 2008   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: BC Press: Little-known salamander (Coeur díAlene )

It's this species of salamander, Plethodon idahoensis.



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