Car­di­nal com­pany

Rappahannock News - - THE RAPP -

Vir­ginia has more than 40 em­blems that rep­re­sent the state’s cul­tural her­itage and nat­u­ral re­sources, from the beloved north­ern car­di­nal and big-eared bat to the tiger swal­low­tail but­ter­fly and nel­sonite, Vir­ginia’s of­fi­cial rock.

Now, an­other state em­blem has be­come law — the of­fi­cial state red sala­man­der. The strik­ing crim­son am­phib­ian was se­lected be­cause of its beau­ti­ful col­oration, wide­spread dis­tri­bu­tion through­out the com­mon­wealth, and its abil­ity to raise aware­ness about the con­ser­va­tion of a species that de­pends on a clean en­vi­ron­ment.

The am­phib­ian is a mem­ber of a group of lun­g­less sala­man­ders that breathe through their skin. Be­cause of their unique re­s­pi­ra­tion, their en­vi­ron­ment needs to be free of tox­ins or they will ab­sorb pol­lu­tants through their skin.

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