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07 November 2004, 02:48 PM
Our class just read "A Sound of Thunder" and our teacher mentioned that Ray Bradbury always mention salamanders in his stories. Does anyone know why he does this?
07 November 2004, 04:01 PM
The only mention of a salamander of which I can think in any of his works (and I've read just about ALL of them) is in "Fahrenheit 451," and I'm not sure as to why. Someone asked awhile ago about the significance of that, and I don't think they were ever answered.
07 November 2004, 04:07 PM
Well, there certainly is something intriguing or curious about those things. I saw "Salamanders??" in today's active topics and immediately had to click on it. I couldn't help myself, like the urge to shake Jell-O.
07 November 2004, 05:01 PM
The Salamander is mythologically associated with fire. If I remember it correctly, the firemen's car in FH 451 is either referred to as "the dragon" or "the salamander".
I first encountered this mythological connection in E.T.A. Hoffmann's novel The Golden Pot.

But there's also an entry in www.wikipedia.org:

"The mythical salamander resembles the real salamander somewhat in appearance, but makes its home in fires, the hotter the better. (Similarly, the salamander in heraldry is shown in flames, but is otherwise depicted as a generic lizard.) Early travellers to China were shown garments which, or so they were told, had been woven of wool from the salamander: the cloth was completely unharmed by fire. The garments had actually been woven from asbestos. Later Paracelsus suggested that the salamander was the elemental of fire."

Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamander

[This message has been edited by Menes (edited 11-07-2004).]
11 November 2004, 01:34 AM
Here's something I found about the declining population of our 2-foot long salamanders.

Updated: 12:33 PM EST
Scientists Try to Save Continent's Largest Salamander

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 8) - The population of North America's largest salamander is plummeting in Missouri and Arkansas, and scientists from five states met to consider how to prevent the creature's disappearance.

About 35 members of the Hellbender Working Group met for meetings at the St. Louis Zoo last week to review research and plans for helping prevent the extinction of the 2-foot-long salamander, which lives in a few cold, spring-fed Ozark streams.

Stanley Trauth, a zoology professor at Arkansas State University, showed pictures of hellbenders with open sores, tumors and missing limbs and eyes. He said that nine out of 10 animals found in the Spring River this year had serious abnormalities.

"I'm at a loss, folks," Trauth said. "We just don't have a good explanation for what's causing this."

Max Nickerson of the University of Florida, who has worked with hellbenders for three decades, said his early research did not find nearly as many abnormalities. He called the new results baffling.

Researchers say it was easy to find 100 hellbenders in a day in the 1970s and 1980s; now they are lucky to find a few.

Biologists believe that many factors may have hurt the hellbender, including logging, gravel mining, sewage plant effluent, agricultural runoff, introduction of trout, disturbance from boaters, poaching, deliberate killing and scientific collection.

One researcher found evidence that hellbenders fare poorly in streams with lots of plants growing out of the water and slowing down the current.

Others are looking at water quality issues, including the possible influence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on hellbender reproduction.

Another research project involves the effect of trout, which are not native to Missouri. Alicia Mathis, a behavioral ecology professor at Southwestern Missouri State University in Springfield, found that young Missouri hellbenders do not recognize trout as a predator.

Mathis is teaching some of the 150 young hellbenders being reared in tanks at the Zoo to freeze when they smell trout in the water.

If the project works, the schooled youngsters could be released into the wild with less chance of being eaten.

"It could be a shot in the arm, for a population that really needs a shot in the arm," she said.

11/08/04 07:24 EST

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press
11 November 2004, 03:47 AM
The same thing is happening with frogs. My niece recently told me she has never SEEN a living frog! She's 12 years old, folks! They used to be all over when I was a kid. Now, they're getting hard to find. Like canaries in mineshafts, these amphibian casualties mark an alarming trend.

But honestly, now...training salamanders? Is that a geek job or WHAT?
14 November 2004, 12:21 AM
We used to race frogs over at my cousin's house. We'd line a couple of 'em up at the manhole cover and surround them to make them move toward the curb. First frog there wins! We were just kids then, but if we did it now, we could probably gamble. Ha, ha...
14 November 2004, 12:47 PM
"The mythical salamander resembles the real salamander somewhat in appearance, but makes its home in fires, the hotter the better."
This sounds like the description of a writer that looks like all the rest, but whose writing goes to greater depths, prompts more reflection, and sometimes inspires controversy. Each of these prompts "hotter and better" writing, which seems to regenerate itself like the Phoenix.
15 November 2004, 03:17 AM
According to recent statistics my region is one of the most polluted in the world, yet we still have lots of frogs and newts here. And, amazingly, the cunning ol' fox is making a reappearance after a very long absence! Other than that I've spotted a few seashells I've never seen before--I've been a beach comber since my infancy and I think I would have noticed these things had they been there, say, twenty years ago.
15 November 2004, 10:38 AM
I live in Southern California and I have seen the number of black crows increase each year to the point where there really are no other birds around today. They are large, agressive and dominate the others, eating their eggs from nests so that they eventually move on or just cease to be. They love my very old shake roof and each morning they are a few pecking at the shingles to get at something or just to raise my blood pressure. This is a great ecample of evolution at work, the more agressive species dominating over the lesser. I sure miss the song birds, that Chaa Chaa is just not to my taste. We used to see Bluejays, Robins and even the occasional Oriole, but no more. Quote the Raven, "Nevermore".

[This message has been edited by patrask (edited 11-15-2004).]
15 November 2004, 11:33 AM
Come to WI, patrask! We've got robins up the ying-yang! Of course, it is our state bird (and the one, when I see my first one, that tells me spring is just around the corner!). I don't see as many blue jays as I used to, but they are around. Now, if I could just keep those darn chipmunks out of my bird feeder......
15 November 2004, 12:59 PM
I haven't seen a "potato bug" since I was a pre-teen, 25 years or more.

A year or so ago we had a discussion about these weird creatures and someone provided this link- http://www.potatobugs.com/pix/ -I was finally able show my kids what I'd been talking about all these years.
15 November 2004, 02:57 PM
Here in the NE, praying mantis were always the prize discoveries on a summer day, rare and bizarre in their characteristics. I haven't seen one in too many years to remember!?
Even as kids, there was some sworn regard for not harming them. Look but don't touch! Display on a stick and then return to their habitat. http://www.geocities.com/thesciencefiles/praying/mantis.html
Same with the unhatched eggs, and later young chicks, of the killdeer. We always found the ground nests but never harmed them. Even though they nested in the open fields where all of our shinnanighans entailed, we made a concerted effort to mark their whereabouts so no errant ball or frenzied bike race would harm so much as a single hatchling. http://www.kildeer.district96.k12.il.us/kildeerBird/KildeerBird.html

This summer I passed this killdeer courtesy on to our boys, but alas no mantis!

[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 11-16-2004).]

16 November 2004, 08:42 AM
Braling II
Potato Bugs are actually Jerusalem Crickets.
We have lots of them in the Santa CruZ mountains. Chickens fight over them. Always gave me the creeps as a kid, but I learned how to catch them without getting a nasty pinch from the mandibles (they can actually draw blood).
I think this is also the "mechanical-looking" insect that gave C.S. Lewis the willies as a kid.

[This message has been edited by Braling II (edited 11-16-2004).]
16 November 2004, 11:29 AM
Yep, I remember those "Potato Bugs" or Jerusalem crickets from Santa Monica, where I was raised. The website apply discribes them as the most universally feared and discusting bugs in the world. They sure gave me the creeps as a kid. Haven't seen one in 'ol Orange County.

Maybe the crows like 'em?

[This message has been edited by patrask (edited 11-16-2004).]