April 3, 2013
Red back Salamander Study

A study at Fresh Pond Reservation has been initiated by naturalist Brooks Mathewson, to find out whether or how many, small terrestrial salamanders there are in the woods of the Reservation. Red back salamanders are abundant throughout eastern North America. They live in moist conditions under leaf litter and logs, where they eat small insects, earthworms, spiders, and other arthropods. Unlike most other amphibians, they do not require standing water for the development of their eggs and young.
It is not currently known whether there are any red backs at Fresh Pond. This study is designed to attract salamanders to favorable hiding places under hemlock boards. Three sets of eight 1x1 foot hemlock boards, were placed about 10 meters apart in three different wooded areas. Brooks will monitor the boards every 2 to 3 weeks, presumably within 48 hours of precipitation. He will keep a record of any organisms found under the boards.
The photos show Brooks placing one of the boards, and a board in place. The label says "Property of Cambridge Water Department. Research in Progress. Do Not Touch. Questions to"
Complete Eastern Red-backed Salamander Monitoring Project Report
Eastern Red-backed Salamander Photos