"Salamander Dads Are Turning Into Cannibals, Threatening Species Survival"

"The hellbenders’ alarming change in behavior may be linked to deforestation, a new study found."

"The hellbender salamander has been called a lot of things. Snot otter. Mud devil. Old lasagna sides.

And now, perhaps: baby-eating cannibal, according to new research into the parental habits of these giant amphibians.

An eight-year study of hellbenders living in the cold, rocky rivers of southwestern Virginia has found that male salamanders are increasingly consuming their own young in areas near decimated forests.

Without abutting trees, pollutants flow into the rivers, leading to changes in water chemistry that seem to be altering paternal behavior, the researchers said."

Elie Dolgin reports for the New York Times April 20, 2023.

Source: NYTimes, 04/25/2023