Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
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Royal Ontario Museum
UFMAC - c/o Donald Barber
Dear Mr. Barber
In July 1997 1 visited a pond in the Cawthra Road/Queen Elizabeth Way area of Mississauga. The pond is in a wooded area east of Cawthra Road and south of the QEW.
The pond was occupied by a large number of larval salamanders, which were easily visible at night as they swam about. Examination of several individuals showed that they belonged to the genus Ambystoma, the mole salamanders. Male salamanders are an important, although not obvious, component of our woodland fauna. Because they spend much of their lives burrowing in the soil, mole salamanders are rarely seen except during the spring breeding season, when they congregate in woodland ponds.
Two species of Ambystoma occur in southern Ontario. The yellow-spotted, salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, is widespread. The other, usually referred to as the Ambystoma jeffersonianum complex is of biological interest because of the frequent hybridization which occurs among numbers of the complex. The two are easily distinguished as adults, but larvae are difficult to identify until they develop adult colouration. Therefore the identity of the salamanders in the pond could not be determined.
The large number of larvae in the pond indicates that the surrounding woodland supports a healthy population of salamanders, I will be interested to visit the pond in the spring of 1998 to determine the identity of the salamanders which breed in the pond.
Sincerely - Ross MacCulloch, Assistant Curator, Amphibians and Reptiles
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