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Searching for evasive spotted salamanders at the Rice Center

By Diane Tennant
The Virginian-Pilot
© March 15, 2010

Anne Wright reached into a bucket of salamanders, said “slimy,” and pulled one out anyway just as a gust of wind kicked up across the tailgate of her truck.

“Doggone it, I thought it was supposed to be warm today!” she exclaimed.
Beside her, Joy Ware cooed to the salamander as she stroked his tummy with a cotton swab. “It’s OK, baby.”

It was OK, because this one had been captured by two professors at Virginia Commonwealth University who think the salamander is, in general, undervalued by the public. With their research, they hope to answer a lot of questions.

The big one is: What’s it worth to you?

Read more from the Virginia-Pilot

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The salamanders migrate once a year when it’s cold and rainy.

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Joy Ware, left, swabs a spotted salamander held by Anne Wright, a fellow professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, on the grounds of the Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences near Charles City.