Showdown looming over official Pennsylvania amphibian

Written by The Associated Press | Nov 16, 2017 3:44 PM

(Harrisburg) -- There's another salamander vying to become Pennsylvania's official amphibian.

House Republican leader Dave Reed circulated a memo Thursday to chamber members seeking support for forthcoming legislation to make Wehrle's salamander the state's official amphibian.

His memo appeared a day after the Senate overwhelmingly voted to make the Eastern hellbender the official amphibian of Pennsylvania.

Researchers say the Eastern hellbender's population is shrinking in Pennsylvania and other eastern states because of pollution and habitat deterioration. The hellbender lives in rivers and streams and can grow longer than two feet.

Reed's memo says Wehrle's salamander was discovered by and named after a late naturalist, R.W. Wehrle, in Reed's hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania.

Researchers say Wehrle's salamander is common. It is a few inches in length and found in upland forests across the eastern United States.

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