Road Runoff Spurring Spotted Salamander Evolution


A female spotted salamander gravid with eggs in route to her breeding pool. There she will lay a cluster of approximately 100 eggs. Eight to ten weeks later, those eggs will hatch as larvae. In late summer, if the pool has not already dried, larvae will metamorphose into juveniles that migrate to the adjacent upland habitat.

Spotted salamanders exposed to contaminated roadside ponds are adapting to their toxic environments, according to a Yale paper in Scientific Reports. This study provides the first documented evidence that a vertebrate has adapted to the negative effects of roads apparently by evolving rapidly…

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