Guess the Swamp Denizen!

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mtratcliffe
Posts: 533
Joined: January 19th, 2014, 4:34 pm
Location: Springfield, VA

Guess the Swamp Denizen!

Post by mtratcliffe » August 18th, 2015, 4:10 pm

Hey all,

Just a quick update with a few recent finds. Some of these photos were taken with my new camera (Nikon Coolpix P610S), which has a much better zoom and flash on it than my previous camera. I'm hoping for some higher-quality pics at medium range as a result. Also, I have two photos of different animals for you all to make guess as to the species. One of them will likely stump a few of you.

This past Saturday evening, I attended a program on frogs at a local state park. We didn't turn up a whole lot during our hike since it hadn't rained at that spot in a few days, but there were a lot of Pinewoods Treefrogs calling in some spots. Also, plenty of Southern Toads about.

ImageDSCN8531 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8550 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8557 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Mama spider with eggs

ImageDSCN8549 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Juvenile Gator in the swamp - I spotted it by shining its eyes

ImageDSCN8542 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Guess the herp by its backside! This frog was up high on the outside of a restroom, so it's definitely a treefrog of some sort. I'm 90% confident of the species, but I'm curious to see what you all come up with.

ImageDSCN8551 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Now, here's a tough one. Take a guess as to what this is - it was found in the same swamp as the Gator above. I know what it is, though I had to ask for help.

ImageDSCN8546 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8540 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

One the way out of the park, I found a pond that was teeming with frogs. Pinewoods Treefrogs, Squirrel Treefrogs, a single Barking Treefrog, Bullfrogs, FL Cricket Frogs, and Eastern Narrowmouths were all calling. I didn't get many photos, but here's one of the Pinewoods Treefrogs as it was calling:

ImageDSCN8565 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Footage:



Chorus with five species calling:



On Sunday, we had a strong thunderstorm roll through that dropped more than two inches of rain on an already water-logged Tampa. The frogs, of course, came out in force, though I think even they are exhausted from all the breeding lately. There's been so much rain, that even the Green Treefrogs are calling from the ditches and fields!

ImageDSCN8579 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Squirrel Treefrog

ImageDSCN8586 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

FL Leopard Frog

ImageDSCN8587 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

And here's what I think is a FL Watersnake, though later on I began to wonder if this one doesn't have some clarkii (Mangrove Saltmarsh Snake) in it. Most FL Watersnakes I see in the area have darker bandings and more red on them, even the young ones. I found this one about half a mile from the road where I've turned up three DOR clarkii this year. Josh Holbrook seems to think it's a hybrid, though there's no way to know for sure without a ventral shot, which I should have had the presence of mind to take.

ImageDSCN8580 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8582 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Finally, a Little Blue Heron, just because I want to show off the zoom on my camera.

ImageDSCN8576 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Guess the Swamp Denizen!

Post by BillMcGighan » August 19th, 2015, 6:25 am

Lots of good stuff, Matt.
That camera should serve you well. That group of cameras with lots of glass are so versatile, without carrying lots of gear!

Since I’m too old to be embarrassed at being wrong, I’ll guess that:
1. your frog butt is a Cuban Tree Frog.
2. your other guess object is an Asian Swamp Eel. (I must admit that my first kneejerk reaction was a glass lizard, since I saw them first in water just south of you.)

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Noah M
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Re: Guess the Swamp Denizen!

Post by Noah M » August 19th, 2015, 6:47 am

Frog butt looks like a Cuban too. If I had to guess something other than Cuban I'd go with squirrel; they're highly variable.

No clue on the other one, the tentacle of a baby Kraken?

simus343
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Re: Guess the Swamp Denizen!

Post by simus343 » August 19th, 2015, 7:51 am

Nice pictures, I really should photograph more frogs besides just an occasional voucher.

Cuban on the frog butt as well. Based on the lines on the wood and rough edges and nicks on the wood, that frog I'm guessing was about the size of a gratiosa or huge cinerea, but the color is all wrong for both - maybe an exceptionally patterned gratiosa, but the skin is too "bumpy".

My first reaction was an amphiuma, but when I look more closely at the first picture of the second "take a guess" picture, I can make out an eye and snout shape that doesn't resemble an Amphiuma at all. Therefor, I agree with Bill that it is an eel. I have seen plenty of eels before and once I took a closer look, it doesn't look like an Amphiuma head. Also in the second picture, I can make out what looks to be part of a "dorsal tail fin" on the bottom left of the picture, but blurry.

As to what species though I cannot say, though it looks similar to some that I found in freshwater creeks and ponds in Okinawa, yours is by far larger than what I was finding though. The ones I found were only a few inches long.

And I can't tell, is that a dead spider next to the little alligator? If so, that is either one big spider or one little alligator.

Carl D. May
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Re: Guess the Swamp Denizen!

Post by Carl D. May » August 19th, 2015, 9:58 am

Looks like a Synbranchus marmoratus to me.
I think they're established in a few places in Florida now.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Guess the Swamp Denizen!

Post by mtratcliffe » August 19th, 2015, 3:55 pm

Carl D. May wrote:Looks like a Synbranchus marmoratus to me.
I think they're established in a few places in Florida now.
I think it has a different scientific name, but you are close. Bill got it right - Asian Swamp Eel. I wasn't even aware of their existence until someone ID'd it for me. And there I was, hoping it was an Amphiuma! Our guide tried to grab it, but to no avail.

As far as the frog, I was thinking Pinewoods at first, but Cuban is most certainly the correct answer. The size and bumps give it away (it was larger than any Hylid save for Barking Treefrogs).

Simus - I didn't notice it before, but that does appear to be a spider. The gator was likely a yearling; small, but not YoY small.

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