From the newslist at Ev1.net;
Ind. Biologists Find Mole Salamanders
Wildlife biologists tromping through a far southwestern Indiana swamp have stumbled onto salamanders never before documented in the state. The breeding colony of 23 mole salamanders
brownish-black amphibians that grow to about 4 inches in length were found last week in Posey County.
"Nobody knew this species lived in Indiana, and it would be interesting to see if it is the only population in the whole state," said Rod Williams, vertebrate curator with Purdue University's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.
Williams and Brian MacGowan, a Purdue University Extension wildlife specialist, caught one of the mole salamanders in a live trap they were using catch another species of salamander, and then found more nearby. "With vertebrate species, finding a breeding population of a new species doesn't just happen every day," MacGowan said.
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is weighing whether to designate the salamanders as a species of special concern or a state endangered species.
Mole salamanders are common in swamps and wetlands in the southern United States, but also live in extreme southern Illinois, western Kentucky and Missouri.
The Posey County population is among the northernmost reportings for the species to date. They were found in a bald cypress swamp, which occur in Indiana only in its far southwestern corner.
"When you're there among huge bald cypress trees growing in standing water, you almost think you're back in time, or down in the deep south," MacGowan said.
MacGowan said it's unknown if the mole salamanders have existed all along in Posey County or if they were recently transported there from Illinois or Kentucky by a flood or some other way. The precise location of the find was not disclosed.
Ryan

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