Herpetofauna: One Life's List

Ambystoma texanum
Smallmouth Salamander

Mingo Swamp, Missouri
Spring 1984

It is no hotspot for herpetofauna where I live in central Illinois.  But any day from early February on into the summer, I can visit a small pond in a patch of woods not far from my home, and find at least one texanum.  Usually I can find them under pieces of wood that are partly submerged and partly on the pond's bank.  This pond is a vernal pool of sorts, drying up most summers, although damp mud can still be found just under the surface.  These are creatures of the floodplain forest, and a small, pitiful remnant of trees that once stretched for ten miles upriver remains here, and so the Smallmouths hang on.

In Illinois, the cold, wet rains in February and early March rouse texanum from winter quarters, and males and females alike crawl under the cover of night to the breeding ponds.






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