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Old 21st June 2004   #1
roger
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While out on our usual Sunday hike, my girlfriend and I discovered that one of the small "ponds" we have been watching had almost dried up. At the bottom was a small area of water filled with eastern newt larvae that probably would die in a day or two.
After finishing our hike we returned with net and jar in hand for a rescue operation. We stood in slimy grey mud sweeping the net and jar lid back and forth catching scores of larvae and one adult in the process. We don't now how many we caught but the container was teeming with the little squirts. After the rescue we brought our refugees to a permanent pond with lots of cover around the edges and let them all free. We were pretty mud-splattered, but at least these newts have some chanceof survival as opposed to no chance.



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Old 21st June 2004   #2
Tim Johnson
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Great going Roger. Would have loved to have seen some pics of that rescue operation Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 21st June 2004   #3
Al Cadavero
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That's pretty cool.
I know it's part of nature when vernal ponds dry out, but you hate to see it happen. I never liked the picture in Petrenka's book with A. opacum larva dead from a dried vernal pond. Makes you think, what a waste!
I did this with a pond behind a friends house with A. maculatum larva. There was no adjacent pond to transfer in, so I reared as many as I could in a kiddie pool and a garden pond. They morphed out into the wild. I was latter rebuked by a naturalist friend, for "disrupting the ecosystem". He was right technically, but if you really take to full extreme, getting up for work in the morning, drinking my coffee, and driving to work will in no doubt have impact on the ecosystem. Maybe we should all stay in bed and stop existingClick the image to open in full size.(just kidding)
Al



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Old 21st June 2004   #4
peter
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I'm the same way. I know a puddle in a rock quarrey "up north" (Wisconsin term for where you go camping, regardless of whether it's actually the northern part of the state) where American Toads breed. It dries up every year, and when I go up there with my dad, every year I try to capture some to raise at home, or I release them in the nearest permanent water area; a trout stream. They don't stand much of a chance of surviving there, but there's some hope at least, and at the very worse, they'll feed fish instead of ants. It's a part of nature, but humans are the ones imbalancing the system.



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Old 22nd June 2004   #5
roger
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In the case of "disrupting the ecosystem", if some of the larvae that I released in the pond are eaten by dragonfly nymps or bass will that even things out?
I do hope that some of the efts that I find this September will be from this batch.



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Old 22nd June 2004   #6
juraj
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Great ! Congrats.



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Old 23rd June 2004   #7
Al Cadavero
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Roger,
I'm no expert when it comes to ecosystem imbalance, but I was referring to what some may call capture/release. It has been argued that if you introduce larva to another breeding pool of same species from a different breeding pool, you may be introducing a weaker strain of animal. This could have impact through genetics or disease. This is simply speaking off of the cuff and there are so many variables that would support or negate this issue.
The pond you mentioned that dried out could be from urbanization that disrupts the water cycle and run offs or simply it was a "dry" year. All in all, I think you did a good thingClick the image to open in full size.. The balance of nature is so complex, that I'm in awe of it really (that is why I like babbling on about it... Click the image to open in full size.)
On a different note, seeing efts on a hike is still a great experience, no matter how old one gets. When I was very young, there was folklore that this was a sign of good luck. I think this was the start of my love and interest for caudates.



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