Small salamanders are having a big impact. Photo by Anthony Ambrose

Salamanders in the News


It’s not often that salamanders make the New York Times.  But last week, the ‘Science’ section featured an article on a study investigating the role of salamanders in the global carbon cycle. Basically, salamanders are among the top predators in …

Wandering salamander. Photo by Dan Portik

Wandering Salamanders Choose Direct Route to Good Food


Wandering Salamanders (Aneides vagrans), in addition to dwelling on the ground, have been found in high-up patches of humus moss mats in trunk crotches, on limbs, under bark, and in the cracked and rotting wood of coast redwood trees. They may inhabit forest canopies, the researchers of this study speculate, because of a more profitable food resource available there. Learn more about this research.

The evergreen fern Polypodium scouleri grows in thick mats high above the ground. Photo by Stephen Sillett, Institute for Redwood Ecology, Humboldt State University

Sponge-like Mats Make Good Habitat in Redwood Canopies: Wandering Salamanders Benefit


Based on their research in Pairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Anthony Ambrose and Stephen Sillett have found that mats of humus soil deposited as high up as 265 feet in the crowns of coast redwood trees moderate the climate around them. This makes the mats habitable to a wide variety of insects and animals more commonly found on the forest floor. Learn more about this research.