Some just never grow up!
Usually, Tiger Salamanders undergo metamorphosis from egg to larva to adult just like any other amphibian. Sometimes, however, things happen a little differently. For reasons that are not completely understood, some salamanders only partly metamorphose into their adult bodies, yet still become fully mature. These individuals (called "neotenic) never leave their home pond and keep their gills, tail fins and juvenile colouration. You can see the feathery gills off the sides of the head of the salamander in the photo below.
Tiger salamanders are very endangered in the Okanagan and Similkameen. They are dependent on fish-free ponds, as fish are voracious predators of adult and juvenile amphibians. This is why it is critical to NEVER release a pet koi or goldfish into a pond! Not only will it gobble up hundreds of local amphibians, but this act is highly illegal and first time offenders can face a fine up to $100,000!
To learn more about local amphibians, check out our resources: www.osstewardship.ca/resources