California Tiger Salamander Metamorph

Talking about a California tiger salamander (CTS) metamorph, can be confusing. A metamorph is a CTS that is in the late stages of morphing from a pond-dwelling guilled larvae, to an adult. How do you view a metaphorph? I don’t know many people who have. Calafornia tiger salamanders (CTS) morph into an adult form (typically), three to six months after egg laying. Once they no longer have guills, they become a land animal and walk away from the breeding site in search of some type of underground burrow in which to live. Around here, burrows of California ground squirrels are most likely targets.

According to sources, the CTS usually leave the pond during the cover of darkness. However, earlier today I discovered one taking a hike during broad daylight on a cool, foggy morning. This discovery was a first for me. I have never seen a CTS metamorph before today.

Here he is in all his glory.

This guy was found on top of a ridge on a gravel road, about 150 yards directly up a steep hill from the nearest possible breeding site.

The young CTS was about four inches long. I didn’t think to put my knife in the photo next to him for comparison. I was kind of in a state of shock, and then another hiker came along with two dogs and I didn’t want to get the little guy killed.

However, I did get several reasonable photos with my iphone.

Here’s one more shot.

He was mostly the green color of the pond living guilled version, but was beginning to develop spots.

If you click on the photo it will enlarge.

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