Southern California T. Torosa Field Report

AaronK

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This spring I had the pleasure to witness the migration and mating of Taricha torosa in Southern California. My observations and pictures are from 2 days about 3 weeks apart, 4/7/07 and 4/29/07. The breeding habitat is a slow moving cold spring shaded by trees.

On 4/7 the newts were migrating in mass away from the breeding stream. It was a cool spring day with light misting and a few sprinkles, the ground and air was damp. There were so many newts walking it was amazing. I had to be extremely careful where I walked. The forest floor was moving and every step could result in a crushed torosa. They were well camouflaged in the leaf litter but could be easily spotted by their movement. It was difficult to spot the newts in the water because the glare was too strong.

The second day, 4/29, I returned expecting to find egg masses but instead found many newts still in the breeding stream, most in amplexus. There were pairs with the male on top grasping the female. Then there were groups in tangled balls. It appeared there were many gravid females hanging around. I did not see any egg masses either.

I will return soon to look for larvae or newly morphed newts. This was a great experience and I’m looking forward to continually observing these great little animals.

Aaron
 

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DosJax 12XU

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Wow, that's really amazing. Where was that? San Gabriel Mountains? Contra Costa?

Note from John: Read the rules for the Field Herping Forums. You are explicitly told not to ask or give locations.
 
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dane_zu

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beautiful shots there, I hope i witness that type of migration some time....
 

AaronK

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I forgot a pic of what the stream looked like. Can you spot the newt?
 

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AaronK

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A. Lugubris

Another pic from the first day. I found it under a log. It was my first time seeing all these guys. I am totally hooked on field herping.
 

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uwe

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Hi Aaron,

what happened to your breeding site during the fires?

Ever found eggs?

UG
 

AaronK

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I visited the breeding area in early September but it was mostly dried up. No newts and I couldn't stay long because it was a giant swarming mosquito nest. I returned this past weekend in between rain storms. There was a large volume of water moving through the stream and not a newt in sight. The area was not burned by the recent fires.
 

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Great pics-I love the mating ball! That must have been a wonderful experience for you!
 
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