The apparently inevitable “yes we can’t” pendulum swing promises to radically transform the spirit of the U.S. Congress from hand-wringing tooth-pulling incremental CHANGE to blustery obstinance-only unchange.
But arguably what happens at the state level could be of even greater lasting consequence since (in most cases) the state governments elected today will be using the results of this year’s census to redraw congressional districts following reapportionment. Or something.
Anyway this seems as good a time as any to try to draw out the urodelan affinities of some of the slipperier districts at least as they now stand.
Of course the original ‘Gerrymander’ (which, if you want to be pedantic I guess, should be pronounced “gary-mander”) was a salamander in the mythological, rather than zoological, sense. But whatever.
First off, we have Illinois’s 4th Congressional District which is truly a thing of beauty:
It doesn’t not look like a Slender Salamander, Batrachoseps. I guess.
These dudes don’t have lungs! Which helps when you want to maintain your contiguity when slithering along the interstate.
Sticking with the Praire State, the chunky build of IL 17 is more reminiscent of the handsome and fearful Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum.
Heading down to Upper Cackleackle the serpentine grace of NC 12 recalls of course the anguilline Greater Siren (Siren lacertina)
Texas’s 29th District looks sort of like the original Gerrymander
but is a good excuse to plug the Texas Blind Salamander (Eurycea rathburni):
Here’s Maryland’s 4th District
whose pasty orientation earns it a passing resemblance to the charming Four-toed Salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum) at least in ventral view.
Finally, what do we got?
Oh yeah, California’s 38th District
Which doesn’t really look that much like the California Newt, (Taricha torosa), except perhaps for the bloated belly of La Punte (too many donuts?) but, anyway, I’m off to bed. Rock on Nevada.
p.s. All images courtesy USGS, USFWS, and USFS … nice knowing you guys.