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Thanks to the recent rain, expect to see a Maelstrom! Yes, a maelstrom of Spotted Salamanders. This is the start of breeding for these native MO salamanders. These photos are of the males. They arrive at the ponds before to lay a spermatophore or sperm packet on leaves and sticks. Most males do not get to meet their female partners. However, if a female shows up an elegant ‘dance’ may ensue to get her to pick up his spermatophore. Regardless of then the females will arrive they will find and insert the spermatophores into their cloaca to fertilize the eggs. She will attach the eggs to small sticks and leaves. For more about their live cycle and development, go to:

You might be able to see these salamanders crossing a rural road on these cold wet evenings as they head to a nearby fishless pond. You might be able to locate these small ponds thanks to the loud calls of the Spring Peeper frogs (photos also included).

If you can get out in the wet weather this week, enjoy the maelstrom!