Saturday, May 3, 2014


Recently, we had a small group of children and adults visit one of our bogs.  The leader later wrote to tell us what they found.  “Chorus frogs, amphipods, snails, dragonfly and damselfly nymphs. Your wetland is most certainly a "home pond" for long-toed salamanders...there may be only one or two other home ponds for these delicate amphibians in San Juan Co." (Russel Barsh- Lopez Island)

(A Rare Moss)
We have known for years that we had some “rare” species on our lands, but it is always good to have the experts tell us what they are and where they are to be found. In 2006 Jean Y. Kekes of Charlton, NY found a rare (for North America) species of at the water edge of our land. It is a rare arctic-boreal, maritime moss, most often found in Europe, notably in Great Britain.  It was only the second U.S. occurrence of Bryum marratii (Marrat's bryum moss or Baltic bryum).

I did a little research on some of the finds in the bog.

Long-toed  Salamander

The distribution of the LONG-TOED SALAMANDER  is primarily in the Pacific Northwest. It lives in a variety of habitats, including temperate rainforests, coniferous forests, montane riparian zones, sagebrush plains, red fir forests, semiarid sagebrush, cheatgrass plains, and alpine meadows along the rocky shores of mountain lakes. It lives in slow-moving streams, ponds, and lakes during its aquatic breeding phase. The long-toed salamander hibernates during the cold winter months, surviving on energy reserves stored in the skin and tail.

Although the long-toed salamander is classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN, many forms of land development threaten and negatively affect the salamander's habitat.

When threatened, the long-toed salamander will wave its tail and secrete an adhesive white milky substance that is noxious and likely poisonous.

Two life-history features of amphibians are often cited as a reason why amphibians are good indicators of environmental health or 'canaries in the coal mine'. Like all amphibians, the long-toed salamander has both an aquatic and terrestrial life transition and semipermeable skin. Since they serve different ecological functions in the water than they do in land, the loss of one amphibian species is equivalent to the loss of two ecological species.The second notion is that amphibians, such as long-toed salamanders, are more susceptible to the absorption of pollutants because they naturally absorb water and oxygen through their skin. The validity of this special sensitivity to environmental pollutants, however, has been called into question. The problem is more complex, because not all amphibians are equally susceptible to environmental damage because there is such a diverse array of life histories among species.

Red-legged frog

Also found is the RED-LEGGED FROG a species of amphibian, whose range is the coastal region stretching from southwest British Columbia to southern Mendocino County in Northern California, and is protected in British Columbia, Oregon and California. As a member of the genus Rana, this species is considered a true frog, with characteristic smooth skin and a narrow waist. This frog requires still waters for breeding, and is rarely found at any great distance from its breeding ponds or marshes.

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