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Friday, February 15, 2013

Ensatina eyes

Perhaps it is the Year of the Salamander!

Eric found this small Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii) in our yard in Sebastopol tonight.  It was only ~4 cm long.

You may notice that it looks fairly similar to the Arboreal Salamander that I found yesterday.

Here's a view from above.  Note that it has brightly colored patches where the legs meet the body, but they're glowing orange rather than metallic gold.

From the side, you can see one of the most distinctive characteristics of an Ensatina.  The rounded tail is constricted, or narrowed, at the base.  Note that the tail is also reddish-orange in color.

A close-up of the face shows the large, dark eyes and the beautiful purple speckling.

P.S.  Now you're really going to think I'm crazy.  Do you know the song, "Bette Davis Eyes"?  I'm thinking it might be fun to write a song called, "Ensatina Eyes."  Can you hear it now?  

Her skin is speckled bold
Her lips near redwoods lie
Her hands are always cold
She's got Ensatina eyes 

P.P.S.  Last February we found a larger Ensatina in our yard.  It looked a little different than this one.  To compare, review last year's photos here.

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