Ambystoma opacum: Female Marbled Salamander Guarding Her Eggs

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A female marbled salamander protects her eggs along Bull Run floodplain. She was discovered underneath a rotten log about 35 feet from the nearest potential vernal pool.  She wil remain with her developing eggs until the next heavy rain so that they can make their transition to water where the eggs will soon hatch.  If enoguh rain doesn’t then the eggs will remain under the log until the the follwing spring. Once the eggs do hatch she will abandon them then retreat underground until the next breeding season in the fall.  Meanwhile the tadpole like larva will reside in the pools feeding on invertebrates and eventauly the eggs of other salamander species until they are ready to transition once more to a terrestial existance.

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