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Posts tagged ‘amphibians’

Seeing Beneath the Surface

I came to Isa Lake to look for tiger salamanders.  But, as I sit on the shore, my eye is instead drawn to the dragonflies and damselflies that flit about, inches above the surface of the pond.  These elongated jewels move with a precision and efficiency that far surpasses any aircraft built by human hands: one cruises steadily with ruthless prowess in pursuit of prey, then pauses to hover, motionless, in defiance of wind and gravity.  The plump, rounded body of a flame skimmer passes by, succeeded by the slender blue needle of a dainty damselfly.  A single dragonfly may eat three hundred mosquitoes in a single day. Read more

My Favorite Puddle

If you wanted to know what kind of person I am—what I like to do, what sorts of things I value—I would tell you this: I am the sort of person who has a favorite puddle.  My puddle isn’t truly a puddle, I suppose, in that it is not self-contained, with no inflow or outflow.  Despite this, I still think of it as a puddle.  It is shallow, and lies along a Yellowstone roadside, and is fed by runoff from springs, hot and cold, in a nearby meadow.

I don’t want to say precisely where my puddle is, as my puddle is special: it is home, each spring, to hundreds of tadpoles.  Most of them are young boreal toads.  A few are spotted frogs.  I can tell the difference by color: the boreal toad tadpoles (I think of them as toadpoles) are nearly black, while the spotted frogs-to-be are a lighter brown, flecked with gold. Read more

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