A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

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Noah M
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A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » November 26th, 2015, 7:55 am

Yesterday a friend of mine and myself went to the panhandle of Florida in search of some salamanders. We had a great time and turned up several species.

The very first was a Southeastern Slimy Salamander (P. grobmani)
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Shortly after that this large Upland Chorus (P. feriarum) frog was observed. I did not know they got this large; this was probably around 1.5"
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My friend's picture from the other side of the tree stump shows the stripes on the back more clearly.
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After that we saw our first of several Apalachicola Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus apalachicolae).
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We double flipped a Marbled Salamander (A. opacum) and this fat, gray Narrowmouth Toad (G. carolinensis)
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We hiked into a small steephead and saw several of these very small Apalachicola Duskies swimming around the leafpack. This tiny one, no bigger than 1/2" long stopped briefly in some sand for an in situ photo.

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Logs in the area revealed another 4-5 duskies and two newts (posed here for a photograph)
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While trying to get a photograph of a larger dusky in the clear flowing stream, another smaller one decided to join the session.
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And the large one after the smaller one left again
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Having seen quite a bit in this area, we decided to go check out a small creek in the vicinity. Within a few minutes we turned up a Southeastern Two-lined Salamander. We didn't bother exploring more of the stream because we had come over to it specifically to find a two-lined. I've been looking for one for a while. I saw one in September, but it dashed off into some leaves and debris and I wasn't able to photograph it. But we got this one!

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Noah M
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » November 28th, 2015, 11:12 am

Nobody else has love for the 'manders, or are ya'll too full of turkey to make it to the computer? :lol:

simus343
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by simus343 » November 28th, 2015, 11:32 am

Nah, just too busy looking for any ambystomid salamanders myself, no luck yet :cry:. I'd love to flip over a log and see a pretty little marbled salamander sitting there.

You've got a nice start to the winter season there Noah, especially with the duskies and marbled.

Getting tonnes of slimies, muds, dwarfs, two-lines, three-lines, and newts in the process though. I just about only need ambystomids, sirens, and an Amphiuma pholeter to round out my salamanders for Okaloosa and Walton county. I think I have the rest for my area. Especially the pholeter - it's up there high on my salamander list. I may have mentioned it before, but the only Amphiuma pholeter with an official record where I work and perhaps for all of Walton county was found by Dr. Bruce Means. Not only this, but it just happened to be an albino as well 8-).

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Noah M
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » November 28th, 2015, 3:32 pm

I'd love to find a mud salamander. Any Pseudotriton in Florida is a big deal IMO. I'm kinda tired of D. apalachicola. I'd much rather find auriculatus here in Florida, as they seem to be really rare these days. Pholeter is high on my list too, but I haven't really actively been searching for them yet. I scouted some habitat this summer, and I'll probably go looking for them this winter. Moles and tigers are also up there on my list. The list is really rather long actually, but getting a 2-lined crossed off was a big one for me. I have to drive a good distance to get any place with some diversity.

simus343
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by simus343 » November 28th, 2015, 6:07 pm

Muds in my experience tend to be on the upper slope of a ravine. Direction doesn't seem to matter.

An AC tip for salamanders, if you get the opportunity - camping tarps seems to be really good if you fold it up and then let it settle in the mud. I find salamanders in some pretty disturbed places by poking around trash piles that likely resulted from a kid's failed attempt to build a fort in a swamp.

According to 4 people I know, 3 of whom are PhD herpetologists with experience searching for amphibians, the best way to get Amphiuma of any species is: once you know the habitat, get into the mud and shove your arms right into it and start groping around or shoveling mud onto land with your arms and sifting through it.

Another one that works well but is high maintenance (to make sure turtles and snakes don't get caught) is crawfish traps - for the amphiumas and sirens. You just need to check them every day to remove turtles or snakes that may get caught because it is easy for a crawfish trap to become fully submerged.

This picture, which I may have used in a previous post about a year ago, shows one of the crawfish traps we use for just such a purpose ( to catch whatever we can) at work. Bottom left.
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Tamara D. McConnell
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » November 28th, 2015, 8:17 pm

Noah, your post is beautiful. Love the crisp, clear photos.

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Noah M
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » November 29th, 2015, 7:30 am

According to 4 people I know, 3 of whom are PhD herpetologists with experience searching for amphibians, the best way to get Amphiuma of any species is: once you know the habitat, get into the mud and shove your arms right into it and start groping around or shoveling mud onto land with your arms and sifting through it.
Exactly, which is why I scouted in the summer but didn't do anything then.
Muds in my experience tend to be on the upper slope of a ravine.
Will have to try looking here the next time I'm in their area.

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Noah M
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » November 29th, 2015, 7:34 am

Tamara D. McConnell wrote:Noah, your post is beautiful. Love the crisp, clear photos.
Thanks. I've been working on improving my photography skills.

Carl D. May
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Carl D. May » November 30th, 2015, 4:49 am

Neat shots Noah. The panhandle is a great region in Florida to find such variety!
Now I'm thinking of a winter trip...

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mtratcliffe
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by mtratcliffe » November 30th, 2015, 8:53 am

Nice finds, Noah! Was this your best day for sallies yet? Wish I were back in the states to herp with you - it's slow going out here (herping wise - not that I have much time for it).

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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by walk-about » November 30th, 2015, 3:04 pm

Great shots Noah! That first pic...a Slimy, well dang man, I am envious. It is a great shot!!! For some reason, I seem to take (and consistently so) the world's worse photos of Slimy manders. I just can not seem to get a good one of any members of that complex. Maybe 2016 will be my year. LoL

Dave

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Noah M
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » November 30th, 2015, 3:32 pm

Was this your best day for sallies yet?
Yes. But I hope to improve upon this. It seems that with each day of success you learn something new, and hopefully I can translate that into a better day in the future.
That first pic...a Slimy, well dang man, I am envious. It is a great shot!!!
Thank you. We worked with the animal for a few moments, using small sticks to move it a bit so as not to invoke the slimy wrath they are named for.

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Thanks Carl too; I highly suggest a trip to the panhandle. The scenery alone is worth a visit. If you let me know when you plan on heading up I might be able to join you for an afternoon.

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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Coluber Constrictor » December 1st, 2015, 2:27 pm

Looks like a fun day. :beer: I did some Black Friday herping at Florida Caverns State park and found my first ever marbled salamander. The panhandle has some pretty cool stuff, especially the off the beaten path parts. I also saw a bat :shock: :)

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Noah M
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » December 2nd, 2015, 5:21 am

Cool. I've always wanted to head up to the caverns. Do you have pictures of the bat?

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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Coluber Constrictor » December 2nd, 2015, 12:38 pm

I have one bat photo but I have been too lazy to post pics on here this year. I might do an end of the year post soon.

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Noah M
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Re: A Little Thanksgiving Salamander Love

Post by Noah M » December 3rd, 2015, 5:53 am

You should post your pics on here. Herps and bats!

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