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Is this California tiger salamander larva an “ugly duckling?”

By Gary Bogue
Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 at 6:28 am in California tiger salamander.

California tiger salamander larva. Photo by Joanne Smith, Union City, CA
1tiger salamander joanne smith union city

What the heck is this thing?  It was flopping around on top of the scum at Coyote Hills Regional Park.  It was about four or five inches long, definitely still alive. (Feel free to use this photo but I doubt anyone wants to see it!)

I love wildlife but this thing makes me shudder whenever I look at it.
Joanne Smith, Union City, California

It looks to me to be the larva of a California tiger salamander. This is, by the way, a threatened species in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Shudder? Why in the world would this lovely little creature make you shudder? It’s beautiful!  Below is a photo of an adult tiger salamander. /Gary

Adult California tiger salamander. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA

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