amphibians

Jessica Ulysses Grant

Boreal toads were once common in the western part of the United States. Today, the toads, and many other amphibians, are under attack from a deadly skin disease known as chytrid fungus, which limits their ability to obtain oxygen and may lead to cardiac arrest. But somehow toads found in Western Wyoming appear to be fighting back against the disease.

Cooper McKim

The sun is starting to set over a gravel road next to a ranch south of Casper. The evening reflects purple in nearby puddles on the road. Project leader Katrina Cook, along with her field technician Becky Blankenship, is preparing for the first nocturnal call survey of the night, three-minute intervals where they stand in a single spot and just listens for frogs of any kind, in any direction.

By Matt Reinbold from USA (Fishface) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

April showers mean tiger salamanders are now migrating in much of Wyoming.

The species spends the winter underground and in basements, but with recent warm temperatures and evening rains, they are currently moving to breeding habitats near ponds and lakes.

Cody Porter, a PhD student in the University of Wyoming’s ecology program, said that the Western tiger salamander can be found in most parts of the state, even when temperatures are low. If there is a riparian area in your community, you might be able to see them on wetter nights.