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Friday, February 10, 2012

Ensatina eschscholtzii

There was light drizzle throughout the day today, creating moist and humid conditions favorable for amphibians.  We went out after dinner to look for frogs and salamanders, and were fortunate to discover this salamander wandering around under the redwoods close to our house in Sebastopol.


[Check out those toes!  Four front, five hind.]

It's an Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii).  This individual was ~7 cm long.  Note the constriction at the beginning of the rounded tail and the long limbs with orange splotches at their bases.  

Ensatinas are lungless salamanders, breathing through their skin.  Females lay eggs on land from which young salamanders hatch directly (after more than 100 days).

The latin name contains a tribute to Johann F. Eschscholtz   a Russian naturalist who visited California from 1815-1818 aboard the Rurik (with Kotzebue as captain).  The California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) was also named after Eschscholtz.

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