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How to find sallies in a small Michigan forest (mostly old growth)?

Bill B

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Hello all, I have been searching a park in Michigan, USA, that has a fair amount of old growth forest along with a golf course, baseball diamonds, and wetland near a creek. Found a very healthy, large (for the species) Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) but have turned over log after log after log and not found any sort of amphibian. At least out my parents' cottage, which has deep forest on old dunes along Lake Michigan, I could find Red-backed Salamanders and frogs. What am I doing wrong? Not even a red-back have I found in this park. From my experience, red-backs tend to just under coarse woody debris. Are other Michiganian salamanders farther down? Are there none here???? Been a dry summer, but there has been quite a bit of rain lately.
 
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Kaysie

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Salamanders don't especially like disturbed areas. Even areas that were disturbed dozens of years ago can show a lack of salamander populations. There are very few legitimate old-growth forests in Michigan. Most are in the UP, with one in central lower peninsula (Hartwick Pines S.P.). I don't know of any actual old-growth forests in any of the lower counties. Here's an interesting article on the definition/protection of old-growth forests in MI.

What you're doing wrong is looking in the wrong areas at the wrong time of year. Expand your horizons. And keep in mind that Michigan isn't exactly a hotbed of caudate diversity.
 
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JessKB

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with the dry, hot summer we've had, I think most mole salamanders are going to be down deep right now. When it starts raining heavy this fall, go flip some logs then. The few times out this summer I've been having a hard time finding anything but larvae. I go to places where it's normally very hard NOT to flip a blue spotted salamander, but haven't found hardly anything.
 

Wildebeestking

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I sound like a broken record, but the really high temperatures and dry weather has driven them underground. Wait a few more weeks and try again when its cooler and wetter giving you a better chance to see something. I had a trip planned to go to Stony Creek this past weekend, but I ended up putting it off until the end of September/beginning of October. Hope this helps!
 

Neotenic_Jaymes

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I thinks its been raining fairly lately and the temps have been steady around 60-55 degrees at night. Ambient air temp during the day has been low 70's. I'm positive the salamanders are out. I need to get back out into the field soon.
 

Bill B

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I thinks its been raining fairly lately and the temps have been steady around 60-55 degrees at night. Ambient air temp during the day has been low 70's. I'm positive the salamanders are out. I need to get back out into the field soon.

Not much rain, though, Jaymes. Just light scattered stuff. Unless the Detroit area/SE corner of the state is getting more.
 

Jefferson

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To everyone's question, there are sallies out in Mi right now. I field herped during the driest week of August just after a light sprinkle brought the caudates out. I found four species, and a few that I have never seen there before. With temperatures falling, I would expect the Tigers to start their fall migrations away from the vernal pools all over southern Michigan. i have found in Washtenaw and Wayne county that red-backs and blue-spots are extroardinarily resillient, that they can live in woods as small as one or two acres just fine, even if it has been cut. I have noticed more that the closer to the Lakes I get, the less Ambystomids seem to occur, with the exception of Ohio's Marbled+Smallmouth. Look in an area with more of a moist forest and rich soil, sallies hate sandy soils and conifers. I would not be hesitant to send anyone a private message on where to find certain species, especially if anyone knows a hotspot for a few I'm looking for.
 
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