The Redback Salamander

Over this past week we’ve had a lot of run-ins with fellow insect collector from the amphibian world. The typical adult Redback salamander has a grey body with a redish brown stripe down its back and appeared under most rotting logs and rocks at Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Other adults of this species display the “lead back phase” and lack the red stripe. Redbacks are carnivores that eat most soil and leaf litter invertebrates ranging from mites and springtails to worms, flies and beetles. Interestingly, they lay their eggs on the ground or in crevices rather than in the water and the mother stands guard over the nest. The salamanders completely develop within the egg, foregoing the common tadpole-like larval stage and emerge a fully formed miniature salamander!

A Redback salamander poses for its beauty shot in Cape Breton Highlands National Park
A Redback salamander poses for its beauty shot in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Tonight we’re running our UV-light night sheet by the ocean to catch some exciting nocturnal bugs! Stay tuned for the next post where Forest will talk about another loveable insect-eating amphibian!

~Jill

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