Herping Central France – Observations of Salamandra salamandra terrestris deposition sites. (Warning very pic heavy!)

sergé

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Back to the Rana larvae; larvae of Green frogs (Esculenta, lessonae, ridibunda) can hibernate. So that means they become very large and metamorphose in the second year. This is probably a larvae of Rana esculenta.

But also Alytes larvae can hibernate and grow large, but they look different.

By the way; a little bit more south lives a close friend of mine: who has a small ecological camping place, offers some rooms to hire and herpetological expeditions...he has natural hybrids of Triturus marmoratus x T. cristatus on his grounds...www.tigouleix.nl
 

tdimler

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Great stuff and very informative!!!
 

vide

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Thanks Mark, for an awesome post!

I was particularly intrigued by the idea that premetamophic Salamandra larvae migrate between different aquatic habitats.

I think this ads a new dimension to there natural history. I can not remember seeing anything about this type of phenomenon in the literature and a quick search in the databases I have access to came up with nothing. Have anything been published on the matter? If anyone have further observations in support or opposition of the idea that salamander/newt larvae make temporary terrestrial excursions I for one would be very interested in hearing about them!

Cheers!

/Vide
 

Mark

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Well it’s just a theory. I don’t have any evidence to support it.

As you can see advanced larvae are found in very small puddles which would almost certainly evaporate during a dry period of more than a few days. Either they’re extremely lucky with the weather or they can re-locate if forced to. I placed larvae on the ground near puddles and they easily covered the 1ft (ish) distance back into the water. For animals inhabiting such temporary environments it would be a useful ability.

I too would be interested in other observations on this topic.
 

dario

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Tadpoles can be Pelodytes punctactus?
 

edbenn

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Hi Mark

Brilliant post and pictures. I think the large tadpole is a Agile Frog Rana dalmatina. The Tadpoles of this species get very large and do over winter occasionally. Water Frog species Tadpoles are a different shape to the ones in your photos.

There is a brilliant guide to central european tadpoles here:

http://www.whose-tadpole.net/

I really recommend buying the guide its excellant.

I've got some photos of large Agile Frog tadpoles, I'll post them when I get time.

Cheers
 

Mark

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As way of an update, I’ve just returned from another visit to the same region and was able to re-visit a number of the deposition sites shown in this thread. By the end of July S. s. terrestris have morphed and left the pools. Lissotrion larvae in permanent pools were found in far greater numbers than in April/May. I suspect they time their eggs to avoid the hungry mouths of the S. s. terrestris who would undoubtedly feed on them. Because the summer is long, competing species can afford to avoid each other. All of the temporary pools/puddles had dried up and even some of the livestock pools I’d considered permanent had little or no water left. Their adaptability to a wide range of water bodies makes S. s. terrestris more successful than other species but timing of deposition is evidently a crucial survival factor for the larvae.

The tadpoles in this photo (not the giant ones) were quite well developed.

Then.


Now. – approx 4cm, snout to tail. Clearly some kind of Ranid.


Bombina had also bred since my last visit but sadly I didn’t have a container to photograph them in.
 

firesalamander

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I was just wondering if you kept any of those larvae?
 

John

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That would be highly illegal.
 

firesalamander

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its its illegal? I thought that terrestris were the only kind that you could collect. That shows how much i know.
 

John

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It is illegal under the Berne Convention and I believe French laws too. It doesn't stop guys from England going over on the ferry on a collection trip and then going back to England and selling them, but it is still illegal.
 

Mark

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I was just wondering if you kept any of those larvae?
No, that would be illegal. CB terrestris are readily available inexpensively in the UK. I've no desire to keep salamandra - it's far nicer to have the opportunity to regularly observe them doing well in the wild.
 

firesalamander

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I had no Idea that was illegal. I know I sound clueless but I thought that it wasn't illegal capturing terrestris.
 

Azhael

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Just to add to the information:
All european caudates are protected(in fact most if not all amphibians and reptiles are). The only country that appears to allow capturing and even importing native caudates is Ukraine(and the local subespecies is S.s.salamandra there), although i´ve never seen it confirmed that it is in fact legal....it´s definitely done, though. In the rest of europe, they are protected, and it´s ilegal to catch them. Actually depending on areas it may be ilegal even to disturb them.
S.s.terrestris is most definitely protected in all of it´s range of distribution.
The situation of european caudates is very different from that in the US. We protect all of our animals because all of them are in trouble(europe is very densely populated and has been so for a long time, and thus, wild populations are very fragmented and isolated).

What John comments is the sad reality...people don´t care if they are protected and ilegal, they still smuggle them and import them. Disgusting....
 

firesalamander

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Thats terrible. I wish people would think before they take all of those animals from the wild.
 

benw

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One simple fact is shops etc wil buy cheap good sized salamandra, in this day and age is all down to money, sad but an unfortunate fact, especially with the current economic climate, which doesnt bode well for european amphibians as well as reptiles
 

Ignatius Pienaa

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Wonderful post! Thank you, I have a weekend house in the Cevennes mostly for mushroom hunting, I keep Axolotls but now thanks to you guys, I’m going to be flipping logs too in May when the famous Morel or Morille mushrooms fruit.

Ciao!
Ignatius Pienaar :happy:
 

Jefferson

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This is a first-rate herping account with some beautiful critters of the anuran and caudate varities! Those Fire Salamanders and newts are absolutely gorgeous, and the common frog looks eerily reminiscent of the Wood Frogs (Rana sylvatica) we have here in the USA. Nice work!
 

Mark

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Most years I revisit the sites shown in this thread. Much has changed at many of them, sadly not for the better. Ditches and troughs drained or choked with vegetation, forestry felled and habitats disturbed by large machinery. Despite this the salamandra population appears to be healthy and I’m sure they find alternative water bodies to deposit their young.

There is no better feeling than walking in the forest and finding a beautiful fire salamander. The joy isn’t reciprocated. They look positively grumpy at the disturbance!


I've probably posted these images somewhere before but here are some adults found at the locations in this thread.









 
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