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280 days of Urbpandemonium #88

 photo P1030148_zpst7ze34h4.jpg
When is a redback not a redback? My first instinct when I flipped over a board on a muddy boardwalk and revealed this creature was that it was a red-backed salamander Plethodon cinereus*. After all, that's by far the most common tailed amphibian in the woods of New England, especially in woods near humans. But it is missing its nominate field marking, a brick red stripe down its back. It turns out there is a fair amount of variety of coloration throughout the species. This morph is referred to as the "lead back" to rhyme with redback. Our friends at Wikipedia report that members of this color morph are more likely to run from predators, while red-backed redbacks are more likely to dare the predator to remember what red animals taste like. This individual provided anecdotal reinforcement to this idea, as it quickly slithered and jumped(!) when I tried to photograph it.

 photo P1030150_zpsolhrm9b7.jpg

Thanks to eumorpha-dreaming for the identification help!

* "Many teeth, ash-colored."

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Jul. 4th, 2015 11:32 pm (UTC)
In the second photo of it, it looks kind of magical and purple tinged, and as if its back end is disappearing--as if it's materializing out of nothing before our eyes.
urbpan
Jul. 5th, 2015 12:45 pm (UTC)
When I saw that second photo blown up I started to wonder if it was a very small blue-spotted salamander (a much less common animal). It's kind of delightful that this common one is so magical.
asakiyume
Jul. 6th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC)
Also, can I copy the second photo into my LJ, linking back here and crediting you? Or would you prefer simply a link back--I can do that too.
urbpan
Jul. 6th, 2015 10:51 pm (UTC)
Sure, I'm fine with that, thanks for asking :)
asakiyume
Jul. 6th, 2015 11:10 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Thanks, I stuck it into an entry that was just ready and waiting to go live: http://asakiyume.livejournal.com/796314.html
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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