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It's the year of the salamander.
To raise awareness for salamander conservation, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are shining a spotlight on Connecticut's 12 native salamander species throughout the year.
Salamanders are amphibians that prefer cool, moist places, and have smooth, slippery bodies. Most do not have claws. All are carnivores, eating insects, worms, small animals and even other salamanders. They have glands under their skin that produce mucus to keep the skin moist. Other glands make poisons that can be distasteful or harmful to predators. Most lay eggs in a mass, string or individually in water or in moist places. The larvae look similar to tadpoles.
The DEEP Wildlife Division and other conservation organizations will be hosting salamander events throughout the year, including a Salamander Art Contest for Kids. For information, visit www.ct.gov/deep/salamanders.
The state's native salamander species include one that is endangered, the blue-spotted; two that are threatened, the northern slimy and the northern spring; and one that is a special concern species, the Jefferson. Other native species are: northern redback; common mudpuppy; four-toed; northern two-lined; marbled; red-spotted newt; northern dusky; and spotted.