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Rare Creature | by Jan Tik
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Rare Creature

 

One of our neighbors found this eight inch neotenic Pacific Northwestern salamander in their pond. (Neotenic = the attainment of sexual maturity by an organism still in its larval stage). Normally these salamanders morph into their adult stage when they are about two years old (about 3 inches long), after which they become terrestrial. This one obviously decided otherwise.

 

They lay softball sized egg masses that can be found just below the waterline attached to some vegetation. Older egg masses are often invaded by symbiotic green alga which provides oxygen to developing embryos. These guys produce toxic secretions when molested by predators.

 

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Taken on March 27, 2005