Friday 27 January 2017

Shovel-nosed Salamander

Image: Todd Pierson
Desmognathus marmoratus

I think I would call it the People-eyed Salamander.

Image: Todd Pierson
The official story is that the Shovel-nosed Salamander is a 12 cm (5 in) long salamander from the Appalachian Mountains in North America. They're only found in the southeast, mostly in North Carolina and Tennessee.

They might have a nose that looks like a shovel, but they certainly don't use it like one.

Image: Todd Pierson
Shovel-nosed Salamanders are very much aquatic, as you might guess from their flattened tail which is just made for swimming. They really don't like land, or silt, or mud. They prefer the feel of solid rock beneath their feet. I can agree with that. But they also like solid rock right above their heads, which I don't agree with at all.

In other words, Shovel-nosed Salamanders hang out under rocks in the middle of cool, fast-flowing mountain streams. They don't do the really serious rapids but they're quite happy in the powerful and churning currents charmingly known as riffles. There they can snap up any insect larvae they find. Aquatic insect larvae, of course.

Image: Todd Pierson
Females lay some 25 to 50 eggs in July. She sticks them to the underside of large rocks, either one by one or in small clumps. They hatch after about 2 months and the larvae hide in the gravel and feed on insect larvae more attuned to their size.

It takes 2 or 3 years for the larvae to metamorphose into adults and another year or two before they're actually mature enough to reproduce. 'Mature enough' as in biologically capable, I mean. Not that they're young adults who go out partying every night.

Image: Todd Pierson
In any case, that's the official story. That's what we're told. That's what they want us to believe.

It seems pretty clear to me what these salamanders really are, are victims of witchcraft. You don't get eyes like that by being born a tadpole! That's people-eyes. People-eyes!


Unknown said...

And who says their larvae aren't out partying every night and engaging in reckless behavior? I mean has there been an exhaustive peer reviewed study conducted? I thought not. Really, with all those rocks lying about and hatching from an egg stuck to one, surely they manage to get one or two of those rocks to roll a bit.

Joseph JG said...

Haha! And I guess they are legless, which is another word for drunk here in the UK. It's a good point. We will have to wait for the research!