This month’s installment of Creature Feature is about Ensatina salamanders, one of evolutionary biology’s most famous organisms. Thanks to Sofia Prado-Irwin for telling me about them, and to Brian Freiermuth for his spectacular photographs (in the piece–click through to see them!)
The piece is based on two papers, plus decades of research by David Wake and colleagues, explained in this video:
- Kuchta et al. (2009) Closing the ring: historical biogeography of the salamander ring species Ensatina eschscholtzii. Journal of Biogrography 36: 982-995.
- Kuchta, SR, AH Krakauer, and B. Sinervo (2008) Why does the yellow-eyed Ensatina have yellow eyes? Batesian mimicry of Pacific Newts (Genus Taricha) by the salamander Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica. Evolution 62: 984-990.