2009 October herping trip

My coworker and friend Brandon and I recently drove to Blacksburg, VA for our annual "Big Meeting" of Jeff Walters' various employees, grad students, and post-docs. As I've done in past years, I augmented the trip to and from Blacksburg and did some herping/hiking and visited family. I'll cover some of the highlights in the brief (ha ha) series of photos below.

These next four photos are of my favorite salamander of the trip.

Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus)

Green Salamander in damp rock crevice where it spends much of it's time.

Pigeon Mountain Salamander (Plethodon petraeus) in deep crevice, similar to Green Salamander behavior

Pigeon Mountain Salamander out on the prowl

Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

This Allegheny Woodrat (Neotoma magister) was an amusing addition to our experience. It was constantly scampering past us, to and fro, as it gathered acorns to store for the winter. You can only see it's little snout with an acorn sticking out from under the log.

I wasn't expecting to find scorpions under logs at high elevations in Northern Georgia, so this made a good consolation prize in the absence of the salamanders I was hoping to find at this location. If anyone knows what scorpion species occurs in Chattooga County, GA, I'd be interested to know.

Adult Northern Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber ruber)

Showy Gentian (Gentiana decora)

Blue Ridge Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea wilderae)

Southern Appalachian Salamander? (Plethodon teyahalee)

Peaks of Otter Salamander (Plethodon hubrichti)

Dixie Caverns variant of Wehrle's Salamander (Plethodon wehrlei)

I'll only say we were driving in the correct lane...

I appreciated the similar growth forms of this Lycopodiella and Selaginella.

A curious White-footed Mouse (Peromyscus leucopus)

Valley and Ridge Salamander (Plethodon hoffmani)

Many-lined Salamander (Stereochilus marginatus)

Flash photo of Many-lined Salamander to show the thin lateral streaks for which this animal is named

Southern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus auriculatus) This species has experienced one of the steepest declines of any amphibian species in North America in recent decades, and for reasons unknown in some areas that still have pristine habitat. I was glad to at least see a few individuals where we found this one.

Atlantic Coast Slimy Salamander (Plethodon chlorobryonis)

Chamberlain's Dwarf Salamander (Eurycea chamberlaini)

Carpenter Frog (Lithobates virgatipes)
This species of frog is one of the most closely related to Florida Bog Frogs, which we work with on Eglin.

On our way back to Florida, our friend Kevin was generous with his time, and took us out to see some of the areas where he works. There were many neat things to see, but my favorite was seeing Venus Flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) growing as a wild native plant instead of in little pots. Despite the approaching dormant season, many of them were looking quite attractive.

Venus Flytrap and Sundew (Drosera sp.); two carnivorous plants growing side by side.

Does "PHROG" = FROG? If so, I think we spotted some more amphibian lovers.

Among all the local food signs, this one seemed to boast some pretty exotic flavors...

Eastern Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina)

Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

I just liked this shroom

Forked Bluecurls (Trichostema dichotomum)


Suzanne said...

Kelly, I am still amazed that you actually FIND these well-hidden creatures! Also, love your photos of them. From the picture of the truck, am extremely glad that at least one of you was able to make quick avoidance maneuvers!

Kelly said...

For every well-hidden creature I find, there are many that I don't. Glad you like the photos. The truck was actually being pulled backwards by another truck. Unless the hitch was faulty, we were actually in no more danger than we usually are when traveling down the highway at 70 mph. Perhaps I shouldn't be misleading about such things.