Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Salamanders of New England - New Film


Salamanders are some of our most mysterious amphibians. Living below ground, or underwater, they're seldom seen, if ever, by most people. Probably the most familiar is the Red Eft, that bright orange juvenile stage of the Red-spotted Newt that seems to magically appear on the forest floor during or after rains. 


Red Eft
Terrestrial salamanders, when they do come to the surface, are primarily nocturnal, so we don't get many opportunities to see them. The aquatic species remain just as elusive, given that few of us are spending any time in the kind of underwater worlds they inhabit.

We've spent the last year locating and filming every salamander species that calls New England home. Without the help of several biologists (herpetologists, more precisely), this would not have happened. 

Special thanks go to Alan Richmond, recently retired from a biology teaching career at UMass Amherst, who played two major roles in this production: first, he spent many days and hours guiding the way to salamander haunts; second, he labored to get some of the pertinent biology into my resistant brain. He was amazingly successful at that first task, but maybe a lot less so at the second.

Also deserving of much credit and thanks is Jacob "Jake" Kubel, Conservation Scientist for the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program. Jake also was very gracious and helpful in the quest to locate species and was quite willing to share not only information, but photos and video too.

Another enthusiastic biologist who not only supplied footage, but spent several cold, rainy evenings leading us through dark swamplands in search of Blue-spotted salamanders, is Brian Bastarache. Many thanks to Brian, even though I suspect he derived sinister pleasure by requiring us to make multiple chilly, soggy night trips into the dark swamps before allowing us to find the Blue-spot.

Robbie Cairl also led us to vernal pools that produced good results for which we thank him. 

As a result of the efforts of these good people, we're happy to say we found all the species of New England, and can now share with you a look into the lives of these shy creatures. 

You can watch The Salamanders of New England on the New England Forests Youtube channel.





  1. That sounds extremely interesting. I can't wait to watch it.

  2. I just watched it - I loved it. Your film is *magnificent*. Congratulations to you all :)

  3. So educational and relaxing to watch. Thank you for another wonderful film.


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