When it comes to salamanders, I have to admit I don't know that much about them.  This particular amphibian seems interesting and borderline cute, at least from a distance.  I certainly never knew that something called a red-backed salamander existed.  Let me introduce Bethany Shaw of Bainbridge, New York so we can educate ourselves about salamanders.

This Chenango County Native is a graduate student at SUNY Oneonta earning her Master's in Biology.   Plethodon Cinereus became the focus of Shaw's graduate research and she explains one of the major reasons why, "These little guys are particularly cool because they can detach their own tails to escape predators, which is called autotomy, and then they can regenerate them!  They have these sections of their tails (called septa), and they can sort of squeeze them off when their tail is pinched, tricking the predator into thinking they’re dead when in reality they’re perfectly fine and can then escape and regrow their tail.”

Okay, we are not yet done learning about red-backed salamanders because Bethany Shaw simply provided too much information to stop now.  One month ago was the perfect time of year to study salamanders.  The reason for this, is that these small terrestrial salamanders are out on the surface in early May and come summer, they become dormant just like me.  They also bury themselves in the ground, I don't do that or at least don't remember.

Thank you so much Bethany Shaw for teaching us about the red-backed salamander.  I hope you continue to do great work at SUNY Oneonta and take great care of our new found friend, Plethodon Cinereus.

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