Identifying eggs

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peter

Guest
I collected some eggs from a small pond near Iola, Wisconsin, and I've had them for a bit over a week now, I found them on April 9th in a deeper area of the pond (about 3 feet.) I know that they were not there on April 2nd, and that males were making their way there. I suspect that they're tiger salamander eggs, but I'd appreciate it if anyone could give me some tips identifying them.

There's four species of salamander that breed in the pond, tiger, spotted, blue spotted, and the central newt. They're in a clump of about 20-30, so they're not newts. The egg mass is a cloudy white color, and it was attached to a plant about midway in the water. I've got a picture from when I just found them, but my camera doesn't work so great at that close and underwater.

Thanks in advance!
14986.jpg
 
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nate

Guest
Hi Peter, laterale rarely lay more than 10 eggs in an egg mass, and maculatum support algae colonies which turn the eggs green. Looks like your guess of tigrinum would be the most likely ID.
 
P

paris

Guest
FYI.....out here in colorado, tigers lay individual eggs, no clumps even if they are put in a tank overnight to lay.
 
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nate

Guest
paris, that's a characteristic of A. mavortium, not A. tigrinum.
 
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paris

Guest
so are we talking subspecies difference then -or have they been separated finally (the CC sites just list Ambystoma mavoritum) so they are now different species?-some argue for speciation in jap firebellies who have differences in breeding dances, so are egg laying differences in the same category? i have field guides that are over 8 years old so it would be nice to know if they are actually truly different now. if i recall right one factor for determining species difference is if they two can produce fertile offspring. can you clear this up for me then?

p.s. ...nice pic, but i thought you had more hair than that...
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N

nate

Guest
Yes, they have been seperated on the basis of genetic dissimilarity. The egg-laying differences were not the basis, but in retrospect, were a clue. There are many different species concepts and there is intense disagreement on what constitutes a species, so I'm afraid I cannot clear that up. Generally, most salamander systematists these days are putting far more weight on genetics rather than behavior/reproductive isolation.

The evidence for mavortium being seperate from tigrinum is presented in:

Shaffer, H. Bradley; McKnight, Mark L.; 1996, The polytypic species revisited: genetic differentiation and molecular phylogenetics of the tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum (Amphibia: Caudata) complex. Ecology. 50 (1):417-433

and

Irschick, Duncan J.; Shaffer, H. Bradley (1997). The polytypic species revisited: Morphological differentiation among tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum) (Amphibia: Caudata). Herpetologica, 53(1), 30-49.
 
P

paris

Guest
does this separation allow for people on the east coast now to keep the barred or blotched tiger sals?(where the local tigers are banned)-or does their fish and wildlife not see them as different? would they not allow them in the state because of possible crossbreeding issues?
 
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nate

Guest
Paris: I think you'd have to check individually with each state. It surely wouldn't surprise me if a state was still unaware of this separation, but I think if push came to shove, a court would rule in your favor.
 
E

edward

Guest
New Jersey prohibits all tiger salamanders regardless if they are tigrinum or not as the state does not make a distinction (they are afraid of hybridization between the species and an inability to readily distinguish between the species). In addition necturus and axolotls are also prohibited as they do not expect the field officer to be able to distinguish between the different species. (There has been some off and on talk for banning all larval salamanders and newts for the same reason).
Ed
 
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nate

Guest
Wow, that's insanity. Pretty ridiculous to hear they'd rather legislate than educate their own officers, especially on a fear that is hypothetical at best.

(Message edited by nate on April 20, 2004)
 
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edward

Guest
I think it is a cost saving manuver. It is cheaper to legislate it away than to pay for training. But I agree it is pretty silly.
Ed
 
N

nate

Guest
Well, I considered that as well but training on this particular matter would consist of a memo or email at best. All it takes is a simple paragraph to competently explain the differences and what to look for.
 
E

edward

Guest
You have higher expectations from the bureaucracy than I do....
Ed
 
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