I was recently lounging in my garden when I noticed a skein of geese flying north in their characteristic V-shaped formation. I started thinking about how geese migrate to their breeding sites yearly, like many other species. This got me thinking about the migratory habits of the animals I write about in this blog. In particular, I began to wonder if the secretive tiger salamander migrates.
Here’s what my research unveiled:
Tiger salamanders migrate. They begin to migrate from mid-winter to early spring (approximately February to May), when they stop hibernating, surface from their borrows, and head for nearby breeding sites (vernal pools, ponds, and slow-moving streams).
For more information about why tiger salamanders migrate, where they migrate to, and when they migrate, check out the sections below!
Table of Contents
- Why Do Tiger Salamanders Migrate?
- Where Do Tiger Salamanders Migrate To?
- When Do Tiger Salamanders Migrate?
Why Do Tiger Salamanders Migrate?
Tiger salamanders migrate in order to reproduce.
Indeed, tiger salamanders are amphibians. Amphibians are defined by their dual aquatic/terrestrial lifestyle. Amphibians lay their eggs in the water, where they hatch and grow into larvae and then juveniles. Once the juveniles undergo metamorphosis, they then move onto land to become terrestrial creatures.
Check out my dedicated article on the topic if you’re interested in finding out how tiger salamanders reproduce.
Where Do Tiger Salamanders Migrate To?
Tiger salamanders migrate to breeding sites comprised of vernal pools, ponds, or slow-moving streams. However, they don’t migrate very far, and most tiger salamanders will travel anywhere from a few years/meters to a maximum of a few miles/km to migrate.
Vernal pools, also called ephemeral pools due to their seasonal and temporary nature, are pools formed when rain causes temporary flooding of low-lying, depressed grasslands and woodland areas. These pools are ideal for tiger salamanders to breed in because of the absence of currents and low numbers of predators or other species competing for resources.
While tiger salamanders prefer vernal pools and ponds over streams or rivers, they sometimes migrate to shallow, slow-moving streams. Fast-moving streams can wash away food too quickly for larvae to eat sufficiently, and currents can also be too strong for the larvae to survive and thrive.
When Do Tiger Salamanders Migrate?
Tiger salamanders migrate from mid-winter to early spring, which corresponds approximately to February through May.
The males tend to migrate to the breeding sites earlier than the females. After procreating, both male and female salamanders leave the breeding site and return to their terrestrial habitats of moist grasslands and damp woodlands.
Whilst tiger salamanders may not migrate as far as the Monarch butterfly (up to 2500 miles or 4000 km), nor as gracefully as the Canada goose, they are a migratory species nonetheless.
So, if you’re out in the wild during their migrating season and spot a tiger salamander on the move, remember that it may just be the longest and farthest trip it will make all year!
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