Here are some of the better photos we’ve taken of California Tiger Salamander larvae this summer. These larvae are all showing various signs of morphing into terrestrial juvenile CTS. These photos were all taken under the supervision of biologist, Joe DiDonato, who has a state and federal permits for handling CTS.
We began to monitor CTS larvae in May. Initially, our take was larva all under 50 mm in length. Look where they are now.
This larva measured 122 mm in length. It is beginning to develop the some of the adult coloration. It’s gills are 16mm, showing signs of recession.
This 141 mm larva is showing coloration changes.
120 mm in length
140 mm length, 17 mm gills and coloration changes.
105 mm long and showing signs of morphing.
123 mm in length and 16 mm gills.
124 mm in length with gills down to 3 mm, this is a metamorph that will be ready to leave the pond any day.
120 mm in length with 16 mm gills, this larva also has a reduced dorsal fin.
These larvae are representative of 42 CTS larvae seined at the proposed Ohlone West Conservation bank on July 24th, 2014. Yesterday, August 21, our crew seined 27 in similar stages of development, including another larva that was a metamorph ready to leave the pond. We believe that larvae similar to the ones shown have been leaving the pond and moving into the upland on a regular basis over the past few months. However, it is very difficult to validate exactly when they leave. We are continuing to develop ways to pin down the exact time that these larvae leave the pond and move into mammal burrows, primarily those of the California ground squirrel.
Of the five ponds in which we have recorded successful breeding at on various years, three are completely dry at this time and two still have significant water.
This has been a difficult drought year for the CTS, but we are convinced that the diversity of our ponds, including both seasonal and near perennial, has been beneficial to CTS breeding.