Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Tiger Salamanders’

New Jersey Tiger Season

Thursday, December 17th, 2015
Biologists and volunteers survey for New Jersey Eastern Tiger Salamanders

by Larissa Smith, biologist/volunteer manager

 

It’s the time of year when Conserve Wildlife Foundation biologists and volunteers along with Endangered and Nongame Species biologists start to survey for New Jersey’s “tigers,” and by tigers I don’t mean the big striped cats, we’re talking about the Eastern Tiger Salamanders. These large mole salamanders spend most of their life burrowed under the ground and in December begin to emerge to migrate to vernal pools and breed. Eastern Tiger Salamanders are endangered in New Jersey and only found in 15 pools in the most southern part of the state.

 

Last week dedicated volunteers Wayne Russell, John King and myself went out to check on a few known breeding pools.  The water level in the ponds was lower than usual due to the lack of rain, but John found an adult male in one of the pools.

Tiger Salamander found 12__9_15@ W. Russell

Tiger Salamander found 12/9/15 Photo by W. Russell

We were delighted to find a male in the pool so early in December. At another known breeding pool we found the partial remains of two Eastern Tiger Salamanders that had obviously been eaten by a predator. But the good news was that we also found two tiger salamander egg masses in the same pool.

 

Predation is just one of the challenges that these salamanders face. Tiger Salamanders themselves are targeted by collectors for the pet trade which is why their breeding locations are kept a secret. Their habitat is declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, development, pollution, changes in hydrology, and climate change.

 

Learn More:

 

Larissa Smith is a wildlife biologist and volunteer manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

 

New Jersey’s Elusive and Endangered “Tiger”

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
Studying the New Jersey Endangered Eastern Tiger Salamander

Conserve Wildlife Foundation is excited to celebrate Amphibian Awareness Month during March 2015! Follow us on social media and be sure to check your email (sign up for our list) for weekly stories on the amphibians of the Garden State and our work to protect them. 

By: Larissa Smith, Wildlife Biologist/Volunteer Manager

TS egg mass @ Pat Sutton

Tiger Salamander egg mass @ Pat Sutton

This week, Conserve Wildlife Foundation, New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and dedicated trained volunteers surveyed a known Eastern Tiger Salamander breeding vernal pool complex. Tiger Salamanders emerge from their underground burrows in the early winter to breed and lay egg masses in the pools. By March, the adults have returned to their burrows.

 

Biologists and volunteers go out to pools during the winter months to survey for egg masses to determine if the pools are being used by Tiger Salamanders. The cold winter made getting out to pools difficult due to the ice cover, so now that it is warming up we hoped to still be able to find egg masses that hadn’t yet hatched.

Surveying for TS egg masses

Surveying for Tiger Salamander egg masses

 

One hundred sixty egg masses were found in the largest pool, some the of eggs had already hatched but others were still intact. Tiger Salamander larvae was seen along with the larvae of the Marbled Salamander. Vernal pools are breeding grounds for many species which is why it is so important to protect them.

 

Marbled Salamander larvae @ Pat Sutton

Marbled Salamander larvae @ Pat Sutton

 

In New Jersey, there are only 15 known Tiger Salamander breeding pools in the southern most part of the state. Tiger Salamanders themselves are targeted by collectors for the pet trade which is why their breeding locations are kept a secret. Their habitat is declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, development, pollution, changes in hydrology, and climate change.

 

To see what biologists are doing to protect them visit:

Larissa Smith is a Wildlife Biologist and the Volunteer Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

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