Wyoming Landscapes - The Alpine Life Zone

The body of the Tiger Salamander is dressed with a black or dark, olive-green background and cloaked with a banding, mottling, or marbling of a lighter green or yellow. Its skin, without scales or unsightly glands, is moist and smooth. The legs - fitted with un-webbed feet, four-toed up front and five-toed to the rear - are similar in size and awkwardly protrude from the body, the sides of which are draped with the folds of 13 costal grooves. The tail is muscular and laterally compressed or flattened. Its head, without external ear openings, is broad with small, non-protruding eyes whose black pupils are highlighted with flakes of gold pigmentation. There is a flap or pleat of skin (the gular fold) which accentuates the ventral junction of the neck with the upper region of the chest. click here for the full excerpt

The body of the Tiger Salamander is dressed with a black or dark, olive-green background and cloaked with a banding, mottling, or marbling of a lighter green or yellow. Its skin, without scales or unsightly glands, is moist and smooth. The legs - fitted with un-webbed feet, four-toed up front and five-toed to the rear - are similar in size and awkwardly protrude from the body, the sides of which are draped with the folds of 13 costal grooves. The tail is muscular and laterally compressed or flattened. Its head, without external ear openings, is broad with small, non-protruding eyes whose black pupils are highlighted with flakes of gold pigmentation. There is a flap or pleat of skin (the gular fold) which accentuates the ventral junction of the neck with the upper region of the chest.

The reproductive cycle is triggered by warming temperatures and spring rains, prompting adults to aggregate in small, shallow ponds. The voiceless salamanders often make use of historical breeding sites to bring breeding individuals into proximity. During courtship, males use their heads to nudge, prod, and poke females in an effort to gain their affections. Thus enticed, a female will indicate her receptiveness by following along behind the male. The male releases a small packet of sperm (a spermatophore) from his cloacal opening, leaving it on the substrate as he ambles away in search of another partner. The female positions herself over the package and picks it up with the lips of her cloaca. The eggs are fertilized internally and pass from her body as she attaches them to submerged vegetation. In her season, she may release as many as 1000 eggs; these are deposited singly or in short rows or clusters of up to 100.

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