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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California







Salamander Behavior - Reproduction and Young

 








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These are pictures and videos that illustrate some of the interesting behaviors of some of the salamanders shown on this web site. (Not all interesting salamander behaviors are shown here, only those from this site. More will be added here as they are added to the site.) Follow the links on the name of each species to find more pictures and information about it.

Reproduction and Young
Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander
Adult male Northwestern Salamander found in a pond with many eggs during the breeding season. Here you can see the swollen vent typical of breeding males. A Northwestern Salamander egg mass. Several Northwestern Salamander
egg masses in a pond.
California Newts California Newts California Newts
A big ball of California Newts forms in the breeding pond when a male and female in amplexus are approached by several male newts who want to take the female. Male and female California Newts in amplexus in the breeding pond. The males hold on tight and swim around the pond using their huge tails. One uses the toes on his hind feet to stroke a female, probably to make her receptive to take his spermatophore. Views of a large mass of female California Newts in the breeding pond, as they go about laying and securing their eggs.
Red-bellied Newts Red-bellied Newts Red-bellied Newts
A video of Red-bellied Newts at their breeding creek in the redwood forest in Mendocino County. In this video, Male Red-bellied Newts walking around a creek at the beginning of the breeding season, waiting for females to arrive. This video shows two male Red-bellied Newts trying to steal a female away from a male in amplexus with her, but they do not succeed.
Red-bellied Newts
Red-bellied Newts
Red-bellied Newts
Adult Red-bellied Newt with a single egg. © Jessica Miller - Livingunderworld.org   A mass of breeding Red-bellied Newts.
© Jessica Miller - Livingunderworld.org  
Red-bellied Newts amplexing underwater
Rough-skinned Newts Rough-skinned Newts
Rough-skinned Newts
Rough-skinned Newts lay their eggs individually on submerged vegetation.
© 2004 William Leonard
A mating ball of Rough-skinned Newts
© Steven Krause
During the breeding season, adult male Rough-skinned Newts develop nuptial pads on the toes to improve their ability to hold onto females during amplexus. Compare with the toes of a breeding female without these pads.
Sierra Nevada Ensatina California Newt egg sacs California Newt egg sacs
On August 2nd, this adult Sierra Nevada Ensatina was discovered brooding approximately 10 eggs inside a rotting log of a fallen Giant Sequoia.  © Ricky Grubb California Newt egg sacs
Ensatinas attending their eggs Ensatinas attending their eggs Ensatinas attending their eggs
On August 3rd, Joe Garcia found these intergrade Ensatinas attending their eggs under a board underneath a house in Monterey County.  You can see here that female Ensatinas stay with their eggs to protect them until they hatch. © Joe Garcia
Ensatinas attending their eggs Ensatinas attending their eggs Ensatinas attending their eggs
On September 19th, Joe returned to the crawl space, looked under the board, and found that most of the eggs of one female had just hatched, with at least 10 hatchlings still next to the eggs. © Joe Garcia
Ensatinas attending their eggs Ensatinas attending their eggs Ensatinas attending their eggs
Two days later, all of the eggs of both females had hatched and the juveniles were still with the females. © Joe Garcia
California Newts eggs California Newts California Newts
California Newts and egg sacs in
shallow water at the edge of a pond.
Part of a group of hundreds of adult male California Newts that were observed during their journey to a breeding pond as they slowly crawled up the shallow outflow from the overflowing pond. Their bodies had already undergone the change to live an aquatic existence, with smooth skin and flattened tails for swimming. California Newts in amplexus.
California Newts California Newts California Newts
Female California Newt grasping onto underwater vegetation preparing to lay eggs Female California Newt with egg sacs. Female California Newt laying her eggs underwater and attaching them to vegetation.
California Newt California Newt California Newt
A recently-hatched aquatic Coast Range Newt larva on the left and the
same Coast Range Newt larva a month later on the right.
The same California Newt larva seen to the left a few weeks later in the process of metamorphosing into its terrestrial phase. (Note the reduced gills, orange coloring, and thinner tail.
California Newt California Newts Gregarious Slender Salamanders
This is the same juvenile California Newt see above right two weeks later, fully transformed into its terrestrial phase. A congregation of breeding adult California Newts under water with many egg sacs. These Gregarious Slender Salamanders were found underneath ground debris along with some eggs. As their name indicates. this species often forms communial nests, but the females typically leave the site after laying. Male and subadult salamanders will often still be found under the same cover as the eggs. © Duncan Parks
California Newts sierra newt northwestern salamander
In this video, female California Newts repeatedly attack and bite at newt egg sacs. Maybe they want to destroy the eggsfor some reason, maybe they are trying to eat them, or maybe there is another explanation. A female Sierra Newt clings to several recently-laid egg masses in a shallow pool in Fresno County. A look at a Northwestern Salamander breeding pond during the February breeding season, including several egg masses, and a paedomorph in the water at night.
Western Long-toed Salamander Western Long-toed Salamander Western Long-toed Salamander
A female Western Long-toed Salamander laying eggs underwater at night in early February, King County, Washington. Eggs on an underwater stick laid by the female Western Long-toed Salamander to the left, soon after she finished. This short video shows two female Western Long-toed Salamanders underwater laying their eggs on submerged sticks at night.. After the first one is finished we see the eggs she left behind. (Same as in the pictures to the right.)
Western Long-toed Salamander Western Long-toed Salamander  
Unlike the much more visible Pacific newts, who breed in full daylight, Western Long-toed Salamanders do their breeding and egg laying at night, and they seem to do it under the cover of leaves on the bottom of the pond. In this video we can see a couple interacting under some leaves in a breeding pond..

Views of some Western Long-toed Salamander eggs on submerged sticks. Some of the eggs are temporarily pulled out of the water for a better look.  
Below is a series of pictures showing the development of the Northwestern Salamander from eggs to aquatic larva to air-breating juveniles. All pictures were taken underwater except for the last one of a metamorphosed juvenile.
Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander
Recently-laid eggs inside an egg mass Mature eggs Eggs about to hatch
Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander
Larva right after hatching Maturing larva Larva with newly developed legs
Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander Northwestern Salamander
Mature larva Larva with gills almost completely reduced This larva is already spending some of its time on land.


Fully-metamorphosed juvenile on land.
     

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