Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

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MCHerper
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Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by MCHerper » March 22nd, 2015, 5:17 pm

Hi Folks,

I saw something that I thought was out of the ordinary today. While flipping rocks in a feeder stream that led into a larger creek, I found two red-backed salamanders, one in red phase and one in lead phase. This is the first time that I've ever observed them in an aquatic habitat. Has anyone else ever observed this? I'm wondering if this has something to do with how bad the winter has been?

Thanks for any help.

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ZantiMissKnit
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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by ZantiMissKnit » March 23rd, 2015, 5:54 am

I've seen a couple on the edges of vernals and streams, under rocks that are partially submerged:

ImageDSCN9269 by ZantiMissKnit, on Flickr

The above photo was from last April, in Western MA. It was right around Big Night there, because there were dozens of obviously male spotted salamanders around the vernal. I know I have flipped a couple of redbacks in areas around streams that have two-lineds and duskies as well.

I've only seen this once, and I found it very curious: a redback was wandering along the edge of a very large pond, in the very shallow water, one afternoon:

[ImageRedback taking a swim by ZantiMissKnit, on Flickr

MCHerper
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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by MCHerper » March 23rd, 2015, 9:28 am

Thanks Andrea! Did one of those redbacks end up doing a disappearing act shortly after that first photo was taken? They definitely look like they have the attention of the big guy there in the pool.

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spinifer
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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by spinifer » March 28th, 2015, 3:28 pm

Ive found them in 4 feet of water in a springhouse, I assumed they recently fell in, but who knows.

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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by MCHerper » March 29th, 2015, 1:09 pm

I found the same thing again today, checking a spring-fed stream in another area in the same county. Weird.

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beemaster
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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by beemaster » April 22nd, 2015, 3:20 pm

I used to occasionally flip them while looking for Eurycea in streams. Fished a dead one out of a puddle last Saturday, as well.

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Kari Post
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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by Kari Post » May 4th, 2015, 6:17 pm

I had a high schooler just flip one (red back) at the edge of a stream today... I was surprised to see it among the two-lineds we usually find streamside

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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by MCHerper » May 5th, 2015, 5:18 am

Thanks Kari!

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NewYorkHerper16
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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by NewYorkHerper16 » May 11th, 2015, 1:52 pm

This past weekend i found a quite a few redbacks in a creek, alongside northern two-lined and dusky salamanders. I even found a bunch of spotted salamanders in the creek as well, which to me is just as unusual as finding rebacks there. It was unseasonably hot and dry the past few days, so my theory is that they were there to keep cool and wet. I found some redbacks underneath the rocks underwater and even a couple walking along the shallow parts!
Here's a link to an in situ photo of one showing the habitat.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125775141 ... ateposted/

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Re: Aquatic Behavior in Red-Backed Salamanders?

Post by MCHerper » May 12th, 2015, 1:16 pm

Alex, this is good info. It's been very dry here lately too, which I agree will affect the behavior of quite a few of the herps. Thanks again!

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