Folk Beliefs

Newts as Yardstick for Ecosystems

Interviewer and informant were on a hike together, and in a pond at the base of a waterfall, found quite a few newts feeding.

Informant: This is great, this is really good to see.  Newts and I think salamanders and a certain kind of frogs—what’s that class? They’re not reptiles, but they’re something equally repulsive?

Interviewer: Amphibians?

Informant: The amphibians—if they disappear, the salamanders or newts and a certain frog, I know this from my friends who lead wildflower walks and go snow camping with me, it’s a sign of, I’ll say degradation of the natural habitat, of the environment, which could be drought or pollution or non-native plants and animals wreaking havoc on the natural environment. Water pollution, absence of water, because they’re amphibians, it’s water-related stress. It’s all very logical but it’s the kind of thing you don’t know until someone tells you.  Also they’re poisonous.

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