It’s a big night for spotted salamanders. Normally secretive and rarely seen, the salamanders emerge by the hundreds from their underground burrows to gather at breeding ponds at Tyson Research Center, Washington University in St. Louis’ environmental field station. Breeding happens on just a handful of days each spring, after the first warm rains fall.
Three new species of black-bellied salamander have been discovered by a research team led by R. Alexander Pyron, the Robert F. Griggs Associate Professor of Biology at the George Washington University. The new salamanders, which are found in the southern Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States, stem from black-bellied populations that were long considered to be a single species.