So many of us love to wander along Rolland Road to look down at our beloved stream or gaze into the water from the Carden Avenue walking bridge to see the fish who live and thrive there. But next time you’re fish-gazing there’s something new to look for: a Streamside Salamander, also known as an Ambystoma barbouri.
Can You Find One?
Back in the sixties, six populations of this salamander were spotted in the Green Hills area probably in fishless small streams with no other streams feeding into them. Sadly, the salamanders are so rare these days, they’ve become a protected species, and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation would like to know if they still survive here. Rediscovery of this species would be an important find.
Look in Winter
A. barbouri lives hidden for much of the year, but are winter breeding. It’s only as they move towards their breeding site from mid-December to mid-March that they can be spotted. Though they’ll breed in streams that flow year-round, they are most often drawn to ephemeral streams. Think of the streambeds along the alleyway from Craighead to Leonard and along Rolland across from the Richmeade townhouses, streams that are dry in summer, but flow gently in wetter seasons.
Take Photos NOT Salamanders
You can identify these creatures by their grey and black speckles and by this photograph. If you see one, take a photo, please! And contact firstname.lastname@example.org who is a zoologist with the Tennessee Natural Heritage Program to let him know. But please do not turn stones looking for the salamanders, or disturb their delicate habitats. We want to encourage this rare friend to think of our neighborhood as his own!
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