Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Salamander Eggs

While I was hanging out at Hunt Fish Falls I noticed some weird-looking stuff floating in a pothole out on the bare granite expanses below the main falls. These are places where small stones and grains of sand have worn out circular depressions and holes in the granite face. This particular pothole was about two feet across and about the same depth. It was full of water and floating in that water were a couple of clusters of what were obviously eggs of some type.

I figured that they were amphibian eggs, but I don't know much about such things and wasn't sure. And they could have been any type of amphibian for all I knew. So I took some video and photographs and when I got back I showed them to some of my online pals who are far more knowledgeable abut these things.

The consensus is that they're obviously salamander eggs. But as to the exact species--that's up in the air. It would be nice if they're Hellbenders, which are our largest species of salamander here in the NC mountains. I've never actually seen a Hellbender, and it would be nice to think that I got to see literally hundreds of Hellbender embryos floating in that little pool of water.

Here I am on the exposed rock below the falls. This rock is riddled with many potholes. It was in one such pothole that I saw the clusters of eggs.

Here is a macro shot I took of a single egg. The eggs looked to be absolutely perfect little spheres, and in the center of each sphere was a forming embryo soon to become a baby salamander.

The eggs.

A better view of both masses. Each cluster was about the size of a soccer ball.

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