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What is it?

Our photographers have been busy exploring the intricacies of the Missouri outdoors. See if you can guess this month’s natural wonder. The answer is revealed below.

Spotted salamander

On the back cover and right is a spotted salamander by Jim Rathert. They are common throughout the southern two-thirds of the state, except the eastern part of the Bootheel. In the first warm rains in late February to mid-March, they gather to breed in shallow, fishless woodland ponds. The salamanders, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, engage in a sort of mating dance in shallow water. They are often seen crossing roads on warm, rainy nights in spring. To learn more, visit

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