Smooching Salamanders

The other day I was perusing my folders of salamander photos to find some my sister-in-law could use in a slideshow. I came across the ones below, which I took in March 2004. They are maybe the worst photos I will ever post here, but they document an interesting phenomenon I haven’t witnessed since: red-spotted newts kissing underwater.

newt 016 newt 017 newt 019

There were multiple pairs doing this, and I don’t remember if these photos all show the same couple. Their behavior wasn’t all as gentle as in the above three photos. Some pairs were violently thrashing around.

newt 020 newt 021 newt 023

Eventually I had to intervene to see what was going on. I scooped a pair out of the pond, and in a moment they separated…

newt 001

…to reveal that they had been stuck together because they had been eating opposite ends of the same earthworm! Like the spaghetti scene in “Lady and the Tramp,” but more like the parody of it in the Simpsons episode “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds,” which ends with the dogs snarling and fighting over the spaghetti.

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newt 003

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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4 Responses to Smooching Salamanders

  1. Henry Hespenheide says:

    “You must remember this: a kiss is still a kiss….”

  2. Annie Runyon says:

    That is fun to see! I had two pet male newts when I was young. I would feed them two worms, but sometimes they would decide that only one worm was tasty, and a tug of war was on.

  3. jezziebezzie says:

    I was gonna say you took the romance outta it, but I guess at least they were sharing a meal together. And since he got her dinner first …
    So happy that I stumbled on your buggy little blog, Charley!

  4. Anonymous says:

    i’m disturbed.

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