Carolina sandhills salamander is the 64th salamander species of North Carolina. It belongs to eurycea arenicola. As the name says it is found in North Carolina and also found around Scotland counties. It was discovered in 2020 . After collection of the 1st sample in 1969, it took 50 years for scientists to distinguish this salamander species from the other 63 species.
Carolina sandhills salamanders are approximately 5.6 to 8.9cm where tails have a length of 4 to 5.6cm.
There are no fins on the tail and has small forelimbs with irregular fingers. Hindlimbs are longer than forelimbs with irregular length of fingers.
What is new about this one ?
Well, they have their specialities and had a name of undetermined species or weird species for 50 years. Because generally, salamanders in the north Carolina region have different genetic sequencing and ecology to the Carolina sandhills salamander.
Unlike other salamander species, North Carolina salamander does not have a habitat in longleaf pine ecosystems , but is generally found around springs and slow-moving blackwater rivers of the region.
What do they feed on ?
Carolina sandhills salamanders presumably feed on small invertebrates like worms, insects etc.,
How do they reproduce?
Even Though North Carolina sandhills are terrestrial, eggs and larvae are mostly aquatic. North Carolina salamanders breed in springs, blackwater streams with substrate of sand , gravel and detritus grounds. They are amphibians like frogs and toads.
Why did it take 50 years?
In 1969 Alvin Barswell of the North Carolina Museum of natural sciences had collected the first sample. They found something weird and significant differences but couldn’t decode and collectively added in two lined salamander species. After 2008 Stuart continued this project. By 2013 there are technological developments in DNA sequencing and by 2020 Carolina sandhills salamanders have been discovered as new salamander species.
Some fun facts about salamanders
- Salamanders are cannibals. They feed on short and weak salamanders when given opportunity
- They can breathe through their skin.
- Salamanders are exothermic. They are cold blooded
- In general salamanders are indicator species of an ecosystem. They are intolerant to environmental changes and indicate the health of the ecosystem.
- They are generally confused with lizards. But they are not !
Carolina sandhills salamanders are nocturnal . They are only spread around the North Carolina region. Significant threats to these species are the rapidly changing environment and their habitat. We have very little information about this species which makes these babies more interesting. Scientists are on the job . to know more and discover more things. But here is the thing we have to do from our end : “ to protect all the species that are discovered till now, not only homo sapiens.”