California Tiger Salamander Larvae

We repaired the dam on this pond last fall.

Last weekend we checked out one of our ponds in search of California Tiger Salamander (CTS) larvae. The pond has all the qualities we look for in a CTS pond. One key is that it’s on a south-facing slope that gets lots of sun, warming the water generating lots of CTS prey. Tadpoles are in good supply and so are the CTS this year.

CTS larvae were suspended about one to two feet under the water surface. The water was relatively clear and many of the CTS were close enough to the surface to allow photographing. This is usually not the case as muddy water and weeds often hide the larvae from view.

The larvae generally stay at depths that provide protection from predators.

A few of the larvae cruised near the surface.

This larvae is about four inches long and it appears that it will be morphing into an adult pretty soon.

As the larvae get closer to leaving the pond, they breathe air and come to the surface to gulp. I caught one in the act.

CTS larvae gulp air as they begin to morph into adults.

Since protecting CTS is one of our objectives, it was satisfying to see so many CTS surviving to reach this near-adult stage.

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